Health outcomes and adherence to a healthy lifestyle after a multimodal intervention in people with multiple sclerosis: Three year follow-up Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Modifiable risk factors such as smoking and sedentary lifestyle adversely affect multiple sclerosis (MS) progression. Few multimodal behavioural interventions have been conducted for people with MS, and follow-up beyond 1 year is rare for lifestyle interventions. This study assessed adoption and adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes 3 years after a lifestyle modification intervention, using generalized estimating equation models to account for within-participant correlation over time. METHODS:95 people with MS completed baseline surveys before participating in 5-day MS lifestyle risk-factor modification workshops. 76 and 78 participants completed the 1-year and 3-year follow-up surveys respectively. Mean age at 3-year follow-up was 47 years, 72% were female, most (62.8%) had MS for 5 years or less, and 73% had relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). RESULTS:Compared to baseline, participants reported clinically meaningful increases in physical (mean difference (MD): 8.0, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 5.2-10.8) and mental health (MD: 9.2, CI: 5.8-12.6) quality of life (QOL) at 1-year, and physical (MD: 8.7, CI: 5.3-12.2) and mental health (MD: 8.0, CI: 4.2-11.8) QOL at 3-year follow-up. There was a small decrease in disability from baseline to 1-year follow-up (MD: 0.9, CI: 0.9,1.0) and to 3-year follow-up (MD: 1.0, CI: 0.9,1.0), which was not clinically meaningful. Of those with RRMS, compared to baseline, fewer had a relapse during the year before 1-year follow-up (OR: 0.1, CI 0.0-0.2) and 3-year follow-up (OR: 0.15, CI 0.06-0.33). Participants' healthy diet score, the proportion meditating ≥1 hours a week, supplementing with ≥ 5000IU vitamin D daily, and supplementing with omega-3 flaxseed oil increased at 1-year follow-up and was sustained, although slightly lower at 3-year follow-up. However, there was no evidence for a change in physical activity and not enough smokers to make meaningful comparisons. Medication use increased at 1-year follow-up and at 3-year follow-up. CONCLUSION:The results provide evidence that lifestyle risk factor modification is feasible and sustainable over time, in a small self-selected and motivated sample of people with MS. Furthermore, participation in a lifestyle intervention is not associated with a decrease in MS medication use.


  • Marck, Claudia H
  • De Livera, Alysha M
  • Brown, Chelsea R
  • Neate, Sandra L
  • Taylor, Keryn L
  • Weiland, Tracey J
  • Hadgkiss, Emily J
  • Jelinek, George A

publication date

  • 2018