Fitness Levels Are Low in Youth with MS

Youth with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be able to improve outcomes through moderate and vigorous physical activity (PA), which may also affect disease and health outcomes. A study compared physical fitness between youth with MS and healthy controls and further evaluated the correlations between physical fitness, PA level, fatigue, depression, and disease activity in youth with MS.

The MS (n=19) and control (n=21) groups took part in assessments of cardiorespiratory-fitness (VO2peak), endurance (two-minute walk test), and musculoskeletal strength (grip strength [GS]). They also completed questionnaires to assess fatigue, depression, and PA levels. Accelerometry was used to establish weekly PA levels.

The youth with MS group, compared with controls, had lower VO2peak (P<0.0001) and endurance (P=0.02), as well as higher body mass index (P=0.001). Among the controls, a correlation was observed between higher VO2peak and higher moderate to vigorous PAaccelerometer (P=0.03), but this relationship was not observed in youth with MS. In the MS group, lower VO2peak and GS were predictive of higher disability (P=0.03) and relapses (P=0.04).

“Youth with MS have lower levels of fitness, compared with [controls]. Higher levels of fitness were associated with lower disease activity and disability in youth with MS,” the study authors concluded.