Physical activity as a correlate of symptoms, quality of life, comorbidity, and disability status in Hispanics with multiple sclerosis

Stephanie L. Silveira, Robert W. Motl, David X. Marquez, Samantha Lancia, Amber Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hispanics with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience disproportionate rates of mobility disability compared to non-Hispanic Whites with MS. Physical activity (PA) is highlighted as a potential adjuvant therapy for improving MS symptoms and disease progression, however less than 30% of Hispanics with MS report sufficient levels of PA. Objectives: The current study aimed to examine the correlates of PA behavior among Hispanics with MS in the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis Registry (NARCOMS). Methods: In Spring 2015, 136 NARCOMS participants identified as Hispanic and completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). IPAQ scores were converted to Health Contribution Scores (HCS) for estimating PA. The association between the HCS scores and MS symptoms (i.e., mobility, cognition, fatigue, spasticity, hand function, bowel/bladder, sensory, tremors, depression, and pain), quality of life (QOL), comorbid conditions, and disability status were evaluated using Pearson or Spearman correlation coefficients with follow-up multivariable regression analyses. Results: The mean age among participants was 58 years and 79% identified as female. The mean MS disease duration was 20 years and 68% reported relapsing disease course. The mean HCS score among participants was 15.6 ± 20.9. HCS was moderately associated with disability status (rs = −0.39), mobility (rs = −0.37), bowel/bladder function (rs = −0.33), and physical health related QOL (r = 0.32). There were small associations between HCS and hand function (rs = −0.29), fatigue (rs = −0.20), and tremor (rs = −0.25). Multivariable regression analyses indicated that disability status, mobility, bowel/bladder function, and physical health related QOL were all associated with HCS but did not independently contribute to the models when controlling for age, sex, and employment. Conclusions: This study highlights correlates of PA behavior among Hispanics with MS. Researchers and clinicians may consider disability status, mobility, and physical health related QOL in future studies examining PA among Hispanics with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101398
JournalDisability and Health Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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