- Increasing evidence points to the benefits of physical activity in those with MS.
- A survey of 151 African Americans with MS and 185 Caucasians with MS found that African Americans reported lower physical activity levels than Caucasians.
- Factors related to making health-related behavior changes – such as self-efficacy (individuals’ belief in their ability to exercise) – were similarly reported lower in African Americans with MS.
- The team is using these results to develop a physical activity intervention program guided by input from African Americans living with MS.
- The researchers (Drs. Dominique Kinnett-Hopkins and Robert W. Motl of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) published results in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (published online December 28, 2015).
Research shows that MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos; susceptibility rates vary among these groups. One team previously reported that African Americans tended to have a more aggressive course of disease than Caucasian Americans, were at higher risk for developing mobility impairments, were more likely to develop MS later in life, and were at higher risk for having symptoms restricted to the optic nerve and spinal cord. (Neurology 2004;63:2039-45
Evidence is increasing on the benefits of exercise for managing MS, but little is known about how Caucasians and African Americans with MS may differ in terms of exercise habits. This information could be crucial to developing interventions that help both of these populations live their best lives with MS.
University of Illinois researchers recruited 151 African Americans with MS enrolled in the NARCOMS
patient registry, as well as 185 Caucasians with MS. Participants completed a packet of questionnaires. Questions covered demographics, disease activity, and physical activity. The surveys also covered factors that have been found to affect behavior changes related to health, such as exercise self-efficacy (individuals’ belief in their ability to exercise), function, social support, expected outcomes of exercise, and exercise goal setting and planning.
African Americans with MS reported lower physical activity levels than Caucasians with MS with similar levels of disabilities. Levels of social factors including self-efficacy, function, expected outcomes of exercise, and exercise goal setting and planning were similarly lower in African Americans with MS.
The team (Dominique Kinnett-Hopkins and Dr. Robert W. Motl of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) published results in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
(published online December 28, 2015
The authors comment that strategies targeting factors such as self-efficacy and goal setting have been shown to increase physical activity among Caucasians with MS. The team is using its results to develop such a physical activity intervention guided by input from African-Americans living with MS.
about exercise options for people with MS
about resources for African Americans with MS