Anthropometry in Athletes with Spinal Cord Injury

  • Mina C. Mojtahedi
  • Ellen M. Evans


Whole body fat and lean soft tissue appear to be reduced in athletes with spinal cord injury (SCI) compared to sedentary able-bodied (AB), however this does not reflect distribution of lean soft tissue and fat mass throughout the body. Research findings using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) assessing regional body composition indicate that as a result of upper-body exercise, athletes with SCI have increased arm and trunk lean soft tissue compared to sedentary AB, and decreased arm FM compared to sedentary SCI. Due to muscle atrophy following SCI, lower-body lean mass is reduced compared to sedentary AB, as found in sedentary individuals with SCI. Although DXA is currently the most feasible method for accuracy and for measuring regional body composition, it is not a practical tool for practitioners working with athletes. Therefore field methods such as skinfold measurements and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) have been evaluated for use in athletes with SCI. Unfortunately, these field methods and prediction equations for estimating relative body fat do not appear to be accurate or reliable for use in athletes with SCI. Currently, limited body fat prediction equations for skinfold and BIA measurements have been developed specifically for athletes with SCI. Generally, limited research data is available on body composition assessment in athletes with SCI, and many of the studies are limited in sample size, varying methodology and inclusion criteria. Further research utilizing multicenter studies are likely needed to contribute to the literature and to create better prediction equations for the SCI athlete population.


Spinal Cord Injury Prediction Equation Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Skinfold Measurement Body Composition Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Body fat percentage




Bioelectrical impedance analysis


Bone mineral content


Bone mineral density


Body mass index


Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry


Fat mass


High density lipoprotein


Intermuscular adipose tissue


Lean soft tissue


Magnetic resonance imaging


Spinal cord injury


Standard error of the estimate


Total error


Total body electrical conductivity


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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