Potentially Modifiable Factors Associated With Physical Activity in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis



Physical activity levels among persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) are worryingly low. We aimed to identify the factors associated with physical activity for people with MS, with an emphasis on factors that have not been studied previously (bladder and hand dysfunction) and are potentially modifiable. This study was a secondary analysis of data collected in the spring of 2012 during the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) Registry. NARCOMS participants were surveyed regarding smoking using questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey; disability using the Patient Determined Disease Steps; fatigue, cognition, spasticity, sensory, bladder, vision and hand function using self-reported Performance Scales; health literacy using the Medical Term Recognition Test; and physical activity using questions from the Health Information National Trends Survey. We used a forward binary logistic regression to develop a predictive model in which physical activity was the outcome variable. Of 8,755 respondents, 1,707 (19.5%) were classified as active and 7,068 (80.5%) as inactive. In logistic regression, being a current smoker, moderate or severe level of disability, depression, fatigue, hand, or bladder dysfunction and minimal to mild spasticity were associated with lower odds of meeting physical activity guidelines. MS type was not linked to activity level. Several modifiable clinical and lifestyle factors influenced physical activity in MS. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate whether modification of these factors can increase physical activity participation in persons with MS. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.