Dietary approach to prevent obesity risk in Spina Bifida patients

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PURPOSE: The aim of this prospective, analytic study is to evaluate if dietary approach can improve the body mass index (BMI) in a total of N = 152 patients with SB. METHODS: BMI levels were evaluated stratifying patients by gender and age classes. Patients with BMI ≥ 25 have been randomized (1:1) in two groups: the "diet" group that received a dietary program and the "no diet" group that did not receive any program. Patients have been observed at the beginning of the study (T0), and again at the end of the study, 1 year later (T1). The main objective of the study was to evaluate BMI score in SB patients and how it could be influenced by dietary changes. RESULTS: A total of 36.8% patients were classified as overweight or obese. Females present a mean BMI level higher than male, and patients older than 20 years old present the highest mean BMI. The "diet" group BMI decreased from 29.7 (± 3.8) to 27.7 (± 3.7) during the year of program. The mean BMI in the "no diet" group decreased from 30.3 (± 4.6) to 29.2 (± 4.7). There was a statistically significant difference in BMI level between groups (p < 0.0005). There was a statistically significant effect of time on BMI levels for the "diet program" group (p = 0.001), and there was NOT a statistically significant effect of time on BMI levels for the "no diet group" (p = 0.053). CONCLUSIONS: Spina Bifida population has high risk of obesity which is related to other comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension for example. Specific dietary program, since pediatric age, correlates with an improvement of quality of life, a reduction of BMI and of risk of related diseases with obesity. This study confirms that the transition to adulthood marks the beginning of the overweight status for many SB patients, but it also demonstrates that, following a dietary program, even disabled patients with limited training capabilities can achieve a BMI reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • BMI
  • Obesity
  • Spina bifida


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