Plow M, Finlayson M, Cho C. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org. Disabil Health J. 2012 Oct;5(4):284-91. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2012.05.007. Epub 2012 Aug 17.
BACKGROUND: Adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) have many health problems that can interfere with healthy nutritional behaviors. Self-management activities (e.g., strategies used to manage emotions and functional limitations) may help facilitate engagement in healthy nutritional behaviors. However, few studies have documented such relationships.
OBJECTIVE: Identify predictors of nutritional behaviors from among a set of variables (i.e., personal characteristics, health status indicators, and self-management activities) linked to the International Classification of Function.
METHODS: Data were obtained from an online survey of 292 individuals with MS. Significant bivariate correlates were entered into a logistic regression analysis using backward and forward selection methods to identify predictors of healthy nutritional behaviors (i.e., endorsing 4 out of 5 questions about frequently making good food choices, limiting fat intake, consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, reading food labels, and eating regularly).
RESULTS: Sex, nutritional self-efficacy, optimism/pessimism, body mass index, physical activity, emotional self-management, and communication with physician were used in the logistic analysis. Nutritional self-efficacy (β = 0.69, p < 0.001) was the strongest predictor of nutritional behaviors, followed by physician communication (β = 0.08, p = 0.029) and physical activity (β = 0.01, p = 0.035). Neither impairments nor activity limitations were significantly associated with nutritional behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence that self-efficacy and self-management activities are correlates of nutritional behaviors in individuals with MS. Supporting the development of self-management skills and increasing self-efficacy might be methods for improving engagement in healthy nutritional behaviors among adults with MS.