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Obesity Prevention for Individuals with Spina Bifida

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Obesity is a common comorbidity in individuals with spina bifida. Carrying excess weight exacerbates the inherent health challenges associated with spina bifida, impedes the individual’s ability to self-manage their condition, and creates further challenges for family members and caregivers. This manuscript provides a narrative review of key issues for understanding and prevention of obesity in persons with spina bifida within the context of the social ecological model.

Recent Findings

Specific variables related to obesity and spina bifida include individual factors (i.e., body composition and measurement issues, energy needs, eating patterns, physical activity, and sedentary activity) family factors (i.e., parenting/family, peers), community factors (i.e., culture, built environment, healthcare and healthcare providers, and school), and societal factors (i.e., policy issues).

Summary

Due to the complex etiology of obesity and its increased prevalence in individuals with spina bifida, it is critical to initiate prevention efforts early with a multifactorial approach for this at-risk population. Increased research is warranted to support these efforts.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Healthy Weight Research Network for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities Maternal and Child Health Bureau UAMC25735-0.

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Correspondence to Michele Polfuss.

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Michele Polfuss, Linda Bandini, and Kathleen J. Sawin declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Polfuss, M., Bandini, L.G. & Sawin, K.J. Obesity Prevention for Individuals with Spina Bifida. Curr Obes Rep 6, 116–126 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-017-0254-y

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Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Spina bifida
  • Overweight
  • Physical disabilities
  • Special needs
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Prevention
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Body composition
  • Body mass index