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Obesity Linked to Increased Risk of MS

June 29, 2016

Those obese in early adulthood are faced with a heightened risk of developing multiple sclerosis, as shown by research conducted by Dr. Brent Richards of the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Quebec, Canada. The results found by Richards and his research team confirmed past observational studies that had suggested this link.

A Mendelian randomization study was conducted in a large population to investigate whether obesity that was determined genetically was associated with the risk of MS. A study such as this one does on the other hand decrease the probability that factors linked to obesity, such as smoking, can explain these findings. A change in body mass index (BMI) from overweight to obese was found associated with a 40 percent increase risk of MS.

The authors of the research article stated that, “These findings may carry important public health implications because of the high prevalence of obesity in many countries.” This is because 28-31 years is the median age of onset for MS. The authors hope these findings should provide some motivation to, “combat increasing youth obesity rates by implementing community and school-based interventions that promote physical activity and nutrition.” This study does suggest that there is a casual relationship between obesity and multiple sclerosis, further efforts must be made in order to prevent obesity.