Adolescents with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of fitness compared with healthy teenagers of the same age and a sex, a study suggests.
Findings also demonstrated that among younger MS patients, higher levels of fitness were associated with lower disease activity and disability.
The study “Youth with multiple sclerosis have low levels of fitness” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
Previous research suggested that young patients with MS who practice moderate-to-vigorous physical activity have lower disease activity and disability. Physical activity also has been linked to lower occurence of depression and fatigue.
Physical fitness, which is distinct from physical activity and is defined in the study as “a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to their ability to perform physical activity,” also may influence disease progression and the outcomes of young MS patients.
This parameter, however, “has not been fully studied in youth with MS or in comparison with healthy controls,” the researchers wrote.
Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada, and their colleagues assessed and compared the physical fitness of 19 young MS patients, ages 11–18, to that of 21 age- and sex-matched healthy teenagers.
To that end, they compared their performance in a cardiorespiratory-fitness test, which measured maximum oxygen consumption during intense exercise (aerobic capacity), and in the two-minute walk test 2MWT, which is designed to assess walking endurance.
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