13 November 2009
Obese adolescents may have a greater risk of future multiple sclerosis (MS), US researchers have found (Neurology 2009; 73: 1543-50).
Analysis of data from the Nurses Health Study and Nurses Health Study II revealed over a combined 40-year follow-up there were 593 cases of MS among 230,000 women.
Those who were obese at 18 years of age (body mass index 30 kg/m2 or higher) were more than twice as likely to develop MS, the authors found.
Heightened risk of MS remained for those with a large body size at age 20. However, no significant association could be found between childhood or adult body mass and MS risk.
While there was no known mechanism for the association, the authors said it suggested that adolescent obesity prevention could be an important factor for reducing MS risk.
Last Reviewed: 13 November 2009