Change in body mass index within the first-year post-injury: a VA Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) model systems study

Racine Marcus Brown, Xinyu Tang, Laura E. Dreer, Simon Driver, Mary Jo Pugh, Aaron M. Martin, Tamara McKenzie-Hartman, Timothy Shea, Marc A. Silva, Risa Nakase-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe change in body mass index (BMI) and weight classification 1-year post- traumatic brain injury (TBI) among Veterans and service members. Design: Prospective observational cohort study. Setting: VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers. Participants: Veterans and service members (N = 84) enrolled in VA Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (VA TBIMS) study with BMI scores at enrollment and 1-year post-injury. Interventions: N/A. Main outcome measures: BMI scores from height and weight and weight classifications (underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese classes 1–3) defined by WHO. Results: Twenty per cent were obese at time of injury and 24% were obese at 1-year post-injury. Cross-tab analyses revealed 7% of normal weight and 24% overweight participants at time of injury as obese Class 1 one-year post-injury. Univariate models found BMI and tobacco smoking at time of injury were significant predictors of higher BMI scores 1-year post-TBI. Multivariable models found BMI at time of injury and motor functioning, were significant predictors. Preinjury BMI, tobacco smoking and PTSD symptom severity predicted change in weight category. Conclusion: While obesity among service members and Veterans post-TBI is below national averages, trends in weight gain between time of injury and 1-year follow-up were observed. Implications for health promotion and chronic disease management efforts with regards to rehabilitation for injured military are discussed. List of Abbreviations: BMI, Body mass index; BRFSS, Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance; GCS, Glasgow Coma Scale; FIM, Functional Independence Measure; NIDILRR, National Institute on Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research; PCL-C, PTSD checklist-civilian; PSTD, Post-traumatic stress disorder; VA, Veterans Affairs; VA PRC, Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation; VA TBIMS, Veterans Affairs TBI Model Systems;.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-993
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Obesity
  • Veterans
  • military
  • service members
  • traumatic brain injury
  • weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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