Energy Expenditure Following Spinal Cord Injury: A Delicate Balance

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1 Scopus citations


Following a spinal cord injury (SCI), neurogenic obesity results from changes in body composition, physical impairment, and endometabolic physiology and when dietary intake exceeds energy expenditure. Given the postinjury reductions in lean body mass, sympathetic nervous system dysfunction, and anabolic deficiencies, energy balance is no longer in balance, and thereby an obesogenic environment is created that instigates cardiometabolic dysfunction. Accurate determination of metabolic rate can prevent excess caloric intake while promoting positive body habitus and mitigating obesity-related comorbidities. Metabolic rate as determined by indirect calorimetry (IC) has not been adopted in routine clinical care for persons with SCI despite several studies indicating its importance. This article reviews current literature on measured and predicted metabolic rate and energy expenditure after SCI and stresses the importance of IC as standard of care for persons with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • caloric intake
  • energy expenditure
  • metabolic rate
  • neurogenic obesity
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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