Article| Volume 84, ISSUE 12, P1823-1830, December 2003

Health behaviors, body composition, and coronary heart disease risk in women with multiple sclerosis 1


      Slawta JN, Wilcox AR, McCubbin JA, Nalle DJ, Fox SD, Anderson G. Health behaviors, body composition, and coronary heart disease risk in women with multiple sclerosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2003;84:1823–30.


      To explore coronary heart disease risk in a sample of women with multiple sclerosis (MS) by identifying the presence of established risk factors for coronary heart disease and to determine the relationship between disease severity and level of participation in health-related behaviors.


      Survey study.


      Five general community settings in Oregon.


      Women with physician-diagnosed MS (N=123) recruited from MS chapters, physician referrals, and newspaper announcements.


      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      Modified Yale Physical Activity Survey, Block Food Frequency Questionnaire, blood analysis, skinfolds, and waist and hip circumferences.


      The majority of women met current physical activity guidelines. The frequencies of unfavorable levels of metabolic variables and obesity were similar to those reported in the general population. Significant associations were observed between mobility and physical activity, total and abdominal fat, and several dietary habits.


      Coronary heart disease risk in this sample was comparable to that of the general population of women without MS. Physical inactivity, body composition, and perhaps nutritional habits decline with decreasing mobility, emphasizing the need for families and health care providers to work together to find solutions that increase health-promoting behaviors in women with more advanced MS.


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