Physical activity and cardiometabolic risk factors in individuals with spinal cord injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Itodo, Oche Adam; Flueck, Joelle Leonie; Raguindin, Peter Francis; Stojic, Stevan; Brach, Mirjam; Perret, Claudio; Minder, Beatrice; Franco, Oscar H; Muka, Taulant; Stucki, Gerold; Stoyanov, Jivko; Glisic, Marija (2022). Physical activity and cardiometabolic risk factors in individuals with spinal cord injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European journal of epidemiology, 37(4), pp. 335-365. Springer 10.1007/s10654-022-00859-4

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Physical inactivity in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) has been suggested to be an important determinant of increased cardiometabolic disease (CMD) risk. However, it remains unclear whether physically active SCI individuals as compared to inactive or less active individuals have truly better cardiometabolic risk profile. We aimed to systematically review and quantify the association between engagement in regular physical activity and/or exercise interventions and CMD risk factors in individuals with SCI. Four medical databases were searched and studies were included if they were clinical trials or observational studies conducted in adult individuals with SCI and provided information of interest. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was applied to rate the certainty of evidence. Of 5816 unique citations, 11 randomized clinical trials, 3 non-randomized trial and 32 cross-sectional studies comprising more than 5500 SCI individuals were included in the systematic review. In meta-analysis of RCTs and based on evidence of moderate certainty, physical activity in comparison to control intervention was associated with: (i) better glucose homeostasis profile [WMD of glucose, insulin and Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) were - 3.26 mg/dl (95% CI - 5.12 to - 1.39), - 3.19 μU/ml (95% CI - 3.96 to - 2.43)] and - 0.47 (95% CI - 0.60 to - 0.35), respectively], and (ii) improved cardiorespiratory fitness [WMD of relative and absolute oxygen uptake relative (VO2) were 4.53 ml/kg/min (95% CI 3.11, 5.96) and 0.26 L/min (95% CI 0.21, 0.32) respectively]. No differences were observed in blood pressure, heart rate and lipids (based on evidence of low/moderate certainty). In meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies and based on the evidence of very low to low certainty, glucose [WMD - 3.25 mg/dl (95% CI - 5.36, - 1.14)], insulin [- 2.12 μU/ml (95% CI - 4.21 to - 0.03)] and total cholesterol [WMD - 6.72 mg/dl (95% CI - 13.09, - 0.34)] were lower and HDL [WMD 3.86 mg/dl (95% CI 0.66, 7.05)] and catalase [0.07 UgHb-1 (95% CI 0.03, 0.11)] were higher in physically active SCI individuals in comparison to reference groups. Based on limited number of cross-sectional studies, better parameters of systolic and diastolic cardiac function and lower carotid intima media thickness were found in physically active groups. Methodologically sound clinical trials and prospective observational studies are required to further elaborate the impact of different physical activity prescriptions alone or in combination with other life-style interventions on CMD risk factors in SCI individuals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
13 Central Units > Administrative Director's Office > University Library of Bern

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Itodo, Oche Adam, Raguindin, Peter Francis, Stojic, Stevan, Minder, Beatrice, Franco Duran, Oscar Horacio, Muka, Taulant, Glisic, Marija


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 020 Library & information sciences








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

11 Apr 2022 10:02

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:18

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Cardiac function Cardiovascular diseases Exercise Physical activity Spinal cord injury




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