This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between the oxygen (O2) cost of walking and body composition metrics, while considering potential covariates such as disability status, step length, and cadence, in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The sample included 63 persons with MS across a wide distribution of body mass index (BMI). O2 cost of walking was assessed using portable, indirect calorimetry, and percent body fat (%Fat), fat-free mass (FFM), bone mineral content, bone mineral density (BMD), and weight/FFM were determined from dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Other outcome measures included step length, cadence, physical activity, and disability status.
The O2 cost of walking had small-to-moderate associations with BMI (rs = –31, p = 0.015), %Fat (rs = –0.26, p = 0.041), and BMD (rs = –0.31, p = 0.013). O2 cost of walking was significantly associated with these outcomes even after controlling for age, sex, disability status, and gait outcomes. The O2 cost of walking was further significantly associated with shorter step length (rs = –0.40, p = 0.001), slower cadence (rs = –0.38, p = 0.002), and higher disability status (rs = 0.44, p < 0.001), but not physical activity. Body composition metrics were not associated with gait parameters, physical activity or disability status in our sample of persons with mild-to-moderate MS.
The results indicated that higher O2 cost of walking was associated with lower fat and worse bone health after taking factors such as disability status into consideration. Researchers may focus on interventions that change body composition, or perhaps gait profiles, as possible approaches for changing O2 cost of walking and its consequences such as disability status in persons with MS.
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The data may be made available upon request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available in accordance with funding requirements and participant privacy.
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Research reported in this publication was supported, in part, by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health [F31HD101281]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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Jeng, B., Huynh, T.L.T., Feasel, C.D. et al. Oxygen cost of walking and its relationship with body composition in multiple sclerosis. Int J Obes 47, 138–143 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-022-01244-7