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An Appraisal of the Nutritional Advice Provided to People with Spinal Cord Injuries in the UK

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1. Auflage, 2019


Master's Thesis from the year 2008 in the subject Medicine - Public Health, grade: Distinction 75.0%, , course: MSc International Public Health Nutrition, language: English, abstract: The present work focuses on the nutritional advice provided to people with spinal cord injuries in the UK. People with spinal cord injuries (SCI) have unique nutritional needs due to their predisposition to obesity and chronic diseases, bowel and bladder related health concerns, pressure sores and osteoporosis. Currently there are no evidence-based nutrition guidelines provided for this neglected group and with approximately 40,000 people with SCI in the UK, this is a cause for concern. The overall aim of this project is to appraise the nutritional advice provided to adults with SCI, living in the UK and to identify limitations with this advice. Multiple methods are selected: Sources of nutritional advice (n=11) are selected by purposive sampling and compared for 'consistency' using directed content analysis. A cross-sectional, web-based survey is provided to people with SCI (n=69) via convenience sampling and enables their views to be investigated regarding the 'adequacy' and 'relevance' of nutritional advice provided to them. Their responses are analysed using simple frequency counts and basic content analysis. The results of the analysis of the webbased survey reveal inadequacies regarding the nutritional advice that people with SCI had been provided with in terms of its delivery, timing, form, content and extent to which it was approved by people with SCI; it also shows that secondary health conditions were 'very important' determinants of food choice for people with SCI, thus potentially encouraging them to follow nutritional advice. Nutritional advice provided to people with SCI in the UK shows great inconsistency. There is also limited evidence to suggest that it is inadequate but relevant for people with SCI to follow. Due to these findings the health of people with SCI is at great risk. People with SCI are predisposed to becoming overweight and obese, because paralysis is thought to decrease their energy requirements, by affecting all three components of energy expenditure.
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