Exploring nutrition knowledge and dietary intake of adults with spinal cord injury in specialist rehabilitation
Study design Cross-sectional study. Objectives To explore nutrition knowledge and dietary intake in adults with spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting SCI centre, Australia. Methods A validated General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire-R (GNKQ-R) evaluated nutrition knowledge to explore correlations with dietary intake. Dietary intake (current and pre-hospitalisation) was compared with national dietary modelling tools and Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) for assessing nutritional adequacy. Results Fifty participants, predominantly male (70%), with a median age of 50 years took part in the study. The mean GNKQ-R score was 59 (13.1)/85 (69%). Participants with a higher level of education scored higher (82%; p < 0.01). The GNKQ-R score was also positively associated with the level of education (r = 0.45; p = < 0.01) with a large effect size (>0.80 Cohen’s d). Non-conformance with Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) and failure to meet NRV were also noted. Low calcium intakes were found in 69% (n = 34) and saturated fatty acid (SFA) consumption exceeded both the acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR) of 10% for adults (n = 32, 65%) and the lower target of 7% recommended for at-risk groups (n = 49, 100%). Lower nutrition knowledge scores were negatively correlated with SFA intake (r = −0.28; p = 0.05, two-tailed) with a large Cohen’s d effect size (>0.80). Conclusions Discordance with the ADG for most food groups was exemplified by high intake of SFA. Individuals with SCI have elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Poor nutrition knowledge correlated with high SFA intake, indicates a need for timely, targeted interventions for CVD prevention in this patient group.