Person chopping vegetables

What is the study about?

This study uses the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems national database to examine the prevalence of obesity in individuals 1 to 25 years following traumatic brain injury (TBI).

What did the study find?

The study found that rates of obesity and overweight problems increased overtime after TBI, with 55% of those studied being overweight or obese 1-2 years from injury; and 67% 25 years post-injury. This is lower than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate for overweight/obesity in the US (70.7%). A history of hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes was also found to be associated with obesity among individuals with TBI. Younger (18-19 years) and older (80 years or more) individuals, individuals in a vegetative state, and individuals in excellent health were less likely to be obese. Additionally, fewer survivors of TBI with obesity report a high level of satisfaction with life.

Who participated in the study?

Participants (N = 7287) were at least 16 years of age with moderate to severe TBI. In addition, all participants received inpatient rehabilitation at a Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Center.

How was the study conducted?

Body mass index, demographic characteristics, presence of chronic medical illness, functional independence, health, satisfaction with life, and global outcomes were analyzed and measured.

How can people use the results?

Clinicians, people with TBI, and caretakers alike can use the results of this study to become more informed on obesity and overweight problems among individuals with TBI.


1Dreer, L. E., Ketchum, J. M., Novack, T. A., Bogner, J., Felix, E. R., Corrigan, J. D., . . . Hammond, F. M. (2018). Obesity and Overweight Problems Among Individuals 1 to 25 Years Following Acute Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 33(4), 246-256. doi:10.1097/htr.0000000000000408


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.