Body mass index and cardiorespiratory fitness in persons with multiple sclerosis

E. Sebastião, R. W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examined body fatness and its association with cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) accounting for disability status. Materials and Methods: This study involved a secondary data analysis from a previous study of 62 pwMS. Body fatness was indirect measured as body mass index (BMI), and CRF was measured as peak oxygen consumption from an incremental exercise test with spirometry. Participants were allocated into 3 different groups based on established BMI categories (ie, normal, overweight, and obese), and data were analyzed using SPSS. Results: The average BMI was 27.0 (6.7) kg/m2, and CRF was 19.5 (7.2) mL/kg/min. There was an inverse correlation (pr = -.38 [−.57; −.14]; P =.003) between BMI and CRF controlling for age, sex, disease duration, and disability level. ANCOVA with linear contrast analysis revealed a statistical significant reduction in CRF between groups of different BMI categories; normal weight 20.8 (0.85); overweight 19.8 (1.13); and obese 16.9 (1.73) mL/kg/min; F (2, 55) = 3.33, P =.043; η2 =.11. Conclusions: The findings suggest that BMI has a negative impact on CRF in pwMS, with a marked reduction in CRF for those classified as obese compared to those in the normal and overweight category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • aerobic fitness
  • body fat
  • disability
  • neurological disease
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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