Relationship of Obesity with Gait and Balance in People with Multiple Sclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective The aim of this study was to examine the relationship of obesity with walking and balance in people with multiple sclerosis. Design This was a cross-sectional study performed at the Multiple Sclerosis Center, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Four hundred thirty-six people with multiple sclerosis were divided into obese (n = 178) and normal-weight (n = 258) groups. Spatiotemporal parameters of gait, 2-Minute Walk test, 6-Minute Walk test, Timed Up and Go test, Timed 25-Foot Walk test, Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale self-reported questionnaire, and posturography measures were determined. Results Compared with normal-weight patients, obese subjects walked significantly slower [98.7 (SD, 29.2) m/s vs. 106.4 (SD, 29.2) m/s; P = 0.01], with shorter step lengths [54.8 (SD, 11.6) cm vs. 58.1 (SD, 10.7) cm; P = 0.003] and a wider step width [12.1 (SD, 3.7) cm vs. 10.9 (SD, 4.6) cm; P = 0.01]. Furthermore, the obese group walked a shorter distance on the 6-Minute Walk test [378.2 (SD, 145.5) m vs. 426.1 (SD, 129.8) m; P ≤ 0.001] and slower on the Timed 25-Foot Walk test [9.0 (SD, 8.0) seconds vs. 7.2 (SD, 2.4) seconds; P = 0.006] and the Timed Up and Go test [9.2 (SD, 6.3) seconds vs. 10.0 (SD, 6.1) seconds; P = 0.002]. No significant differences between groups were noted in the Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale self-reported questionnaire and postural control measures. Conclusion Obesity affects walking but not postural control in people with multiple sclerosis despite the level of neurological disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Balance
  • Gait
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Obesity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship of Obesity with Gait and Balance in People with Multiple Sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this