Internet-delivered lifestyle physical activity intervention improves body composition in multiple sclerosis: Preliminary evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Lara A. Pilutti, Deirdre Dlugonski, Brian M. Sandroff, Rachel E. Klaren, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the efficacy of a physical activity behavioral intervention for improving outcomes of body composition in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design Secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial. Setting University research laboratory. Participants Ambulatory persons with MS (N=82). Intervention A 6-month, internet-delivered physical activity behavioral intervention designed to increase lifestyle physical activity, primarily walking. The behavioral intervention was based on principles of social cognitive theory. Main Outcome Measures Whole-body bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD), and soft tissue composition, using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Results There were no significant differences between conditions posttrial on body composition outcomes using the adjusted critical value (P<.008). There was a significant effect of the intervention on whole-body BMC (P=.04, ω2<.001) and BMD (P=.01, ω2=.003) using the unadjusted critical value (P<.05). The effect of the intervention on percent body fat (P=.09, ω2=.001) and whole-body fat mass (P=.05, ω2=.003) approached significance using unadjusted criteria. There was not a significant effect on whole-body lean soft tissue (P=.28, ω2<.001) or body mass index (P=.86, ω2<.001). Conclusions Our results provide preliminary evidence that an internet-delivered lifestyle physical activity intervention might improve bone health and body composition in MS. Such findings are important considering that physical activity is a modifiable behavior with the potential to confer long-term benefits for the prevention and management of fracture risk and comorbidities among those with MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1288
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Disclosures: Motl reports personal fees from EMD Serono, grants from Biogen Idec, and grants from Acorda Therapeutics, outside the submitted work. The other authors have nothing to disclose.

Funding Information:
Supported in part by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (grant no. PP1695 ), a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and a Du Pré Grant from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.


  • Body composition
  • Bone
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Rehabilitation
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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