Document Type

Handbook, Guide or Manual (Third Edition)

Publication Date (Third Edition)



Introduction-Why Nutrition Matters

Nutrition is important for everyone to maintain good health. After a spinal cord injury, nutrition can be even more important to improve overall wellness, achieve and maintain a healthy weight and help regulate bowel and bladder function. Eating a well balanced diet can help prevent the long term complications associated with SCI such as weight gain, deconditioning and skin breakdown.

A well-balanced diet can provide all of the nutrients that your body needs. Foods high in fiber, along with plenty of water, help regulate bowel function. However, if you eat more than you need, you can gain weight. The goal of a balanced diet is to consume adequate calories to maintain a healthy weight while getting all the nutrients that your body needs. If weight control is a problem, you can learn to decrease your calorie intake without giving up important nutrients, such as protein.

There are several nutrition classes offered at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital to SCI inpatients and their caregivers that review general nutritional needs in SCI. In addition, a registered dietitian is available at Magee to discuss individual nutritional needs. As an inpatient, you can ask your nurse or doctor to see the dietitian. To contact a dietitian after discharge, call 215-587-3059.

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