Health provider identified barriers and facilitators to weight management for individuals with spinal cord injury.


Pellegrini CA(1), Burkhart L(2)(3), Jones K(4), LaVela SL(2)(5).
Author information:
(1)Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. [Email]
(2)Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare
(CINCCH), Department of Veterans Affairs, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL, USA.
(3)Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
(4)Midwest Regional SCI Care System
(MRSCICS), Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
(SRAlab), Chicago, IL, USA.
(5)Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.


STUDY DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive study using semi-structured interviews OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the barriers and facilitators of weight management in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) from the perspective of SCI health care providers. SETTING: Veterans Health Administration and Midwest Regional SCI Care Systems. METHODS: Health care providers (n = 25) who care for individuals with SCI completed semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis methodology was used to identify emergent themes around barriers and facilitators to weight management in SCI. RESULTS: Sixteen subthemes emerged for barriers and seven subthemes emerged for facilitators for weight management in SCI. Barriers included individual-level factors (e.g., physical ability/mobility limitations, lack of interest, psychological obstacles, lack of knowledge, poor dietary strategies), socio-environmental factors (e.g., challenges with family support, lack of access to weight management resources, dependency on others, difficulties obtaining weight measurement), and organizational factors (e.g., lack of integration/inconsistent weight management support from healthcare systems, pushing calorie intake early post-injury). Facilitators included individual-level factors (e.g., motivation, education/knowledge, participation in exercise and physical activity) and socio-environmental factors (e.g., positive support network, access to/use of healthy dietary strategies, access to exercise facilities/adaptive equipment, participating in weight management with others). CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare providers identified individual-level, socio-environmental, and organizational barriers and facilitators that influence weight management efforts in individuals with SCI. Future weight management resources and programs should consider addressing common barriers identified by healthcare providers, individuals with SCI, and their caregivers, and develop strategies to promote facilitators to enhance weight management in this population.