Racial and Ethnic Differences in Obesity in People With SCI

What is the study about?

The aim of this study was to examine what role neighborhoods, race, and ethnicity play in obesity rates for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).

What did the study find?

The study found Hispanics had the highest obesity rate than other racial groups. Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics tend to reside in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, unemployment, and low socio-economic status, as determined by the Concentrated Disadvantaged Index. Regardless of race and ethnicity, individuals with SCI from disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to be obese.

Who participated in the study?

Individuals with SCI (n=3385; 2251 non-Hispanic whites, 760 non-Hispanic blacks, 374 Hispanics) who completed a follow-up assessment during 2006-2017.

How was the study conducted?

This study used a cross-sectional analysis of survey data from the National SCI database linked with neighborhood information from American Community Survey.

How can people use the results?

Practitioners, individuals with SCIs, and their families can use the results of this study to better understand how disadvantaged neighborhood characteristics contribute to obesity in individuals with SCI.


Wen, H., Botticello, A. L., Bae, S., Heinemann, A. W., Boninger, M., Houlihan, B. V., & Chen, Y. (2019). Racial and Ethnic Differences in Obesity in People With Spinal Cord Injury: The Effects of Disadvantaged Neighborhood. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 100(9), 1599–1606. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2019.02.008


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant (number H133A110004) from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.