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Keywords

disability, multiple sclerosis, neurological disorder, nutrition, obesity

 

Authors

  1. Plow, Matthew
  2. Finlayson, Marcia

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Few studies have explored how people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) cope with impairments and disability to participate in nutritional behaviors, such as meal preparation and grocery shopping. Thus, we conducted a qualitative study among eight individuals with MS who experienced mobility impairments. The eight individuals participated in semistructured, face-to-face interviews that focused on obtaining narratives about day-to-day dietary habits, preparing food, grocery shopping, and going to restaurants. Interviews were analyzed using an inductive category and theme development approach. Overall themes were (a) "it's a lot of work," (b) "it's not just up to me," (c) sifting through nutritional information, and (d) "why I eat what I eat." Participants frequently reported fatigue and mobility impairments as barriers to engagement in nutritional behaviors and often described family members as the "gatekeepers" for food selection and preparation (i.e., providing tangible support). Future research should explore the effectiveness of nutritional interventions that target family dynamics and create a supportive social environment to promote healthy eating habits and nutritional autonomy.