The Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference as Predictors of Body Composition in Post CSCI Wheelchair Rugby Players (Preliminary Investigations)

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The enforced sedentary lifestyle and muscle paresis below the level of injury are associated with adipose tissue accumulation in the trunk. The value of anthropometric indicators of obesity in patients with spinal cord injuries has also been called into question. We hypothesized that the Body Mass Index recommended by the WHO to diagnose obesity in general population has too low sensitivity in case of wheelchair rugby players.

The study group comprised 14 wheelchair rugby players, aged 32.6 ± 5.1 years, who had sustained CSCI (paralysis of lower limbs and upper extremities). The research tool was the Tanita Viscan visceral and trunk fat analyzer AB140 using the abdominal bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to estimate the visceral fat level (Vfat) and trunk fat percentage (Tfat). The AB140 analyzer also allowed the measurement of body composition of those individuals who could not assume an upright position. Our analyses revealed high and very high correlation coefficients between Vfat and WC (r=0.9), WHtR (r=0.7) and Tfat (r=0.9) whereas the correlation between Vfat and the BMI was weak, especially in the subgroup with Vfat < 13.5% ( r=0.2). The subgroup with Vfat>13.5 exhibited a moderate-level relationship between the BMI and visceral fat increase. It was concluded that the BMI had a low sensitivity for predicting obesity risk in wheelchair rugby players after CSCI. The sensitivity of WC measurement was higher and thus, it may be stated that it constitutes an objective tool for predicting obesity risk in post-CSCI wheelchair rugby players.

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