Obesity may increase risk of MS in children and teens

January 30, 2013

Being obese may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and teenage girls, according to new research published in the January 30, 2013, online issue of Neurology.

"Over the last 30 years, has tripled," said study author Annette Langer-Gould, MD, PhD, with the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena and a member of the American Academy of . "In our study, the risk of pediatric MS was highest among moderately and extremely obese , suggesting that the rate of pediatric MS cases is likely to increase as the childhood obesity epidemic continues."

For the study, researchers identified 75 children and adolescents diagnosed with pediatric MS between the ages of 2 and 18. Body mass index (BMI) from before symptoms appeared was obtained. The children with MS were compared to 913,097 children who did not have MS. All participants were grouped into weight classes of normal weight, overweight, moderate obesity and extreme obesity. A total of 50.6 percent of the children with MS were overweight or obese, compared to 36.6 percent of the children who did not have MS.

The study found that the risk of developing MS was more than one and a half times higher for overweight girls than girls who were not overweight, nearly 1.8 times higher in moderately obese girls compared to girls of normal weight and nearly four times higher in extremely obese girls. The same association was not found in boys.

"Even though remains rare, our study suggests that parents or caregivers of obese teenagers should pay attention to symptoms such as tingling and numbness or limb weakness, and bring them to a doctor's attention," said Langer-Gould.

Explore further: Children with MS are at increased risk of becoming obese in childhood

Related Stories

Research supports role of BMI in incident asthma in children

November 20, 2012

(HealthDay)—Overweight and obese children have a significantly increased risk of incident asthma, with evidence of a dose-response effect of elevated body mass index (BMI), according to a meta-analysis published online ...

Recommended for you

New insights on how cocaine changes the brain

November 25, 2015

The burst of energy and hyperactivity that comes with a cocaine high is a rather accurate reflection of what's going on in the brain of its users, finds a study published November 25 in Cell Reports. Through experiments conducted ...

Can physical exercise enhance long-term memory?

November 25, 2015

Exercise can enhance the development of new brain cells in the adult brain, a process called adult neurogenesis. These newborn brain cells play an important role in learning and memory. A new study has determined that mice ...

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.