A new study into risk factors associated with the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) has found that children who are overweight or obese were twice as likely to develop MS compared with non-overweight children.
There is no specific cause of multiple sclerosis, however, there are many risk factors including genes, exposure to infections, and environmental factors, have been identified as increasing a person’s susceptibility to the disease.
Previous studies have contributed to a growing body of evidence that childhood/adolescent obesity can increase the risk of developing MS.
The latest study was conducted by scientists at the University Medical Centre in Gottingen. Researchers reviewed the medical records of 453 children and adolescents with MS. The team looked at disease activity captured on imaging scans; treatment information.
They also compared body mass index with information obtained on 14,747 children in a Germany-wide health survey.
The results were that both boys and girls who were overweight or obese had twice the risk of developing MS, compared with non-overweight children or adolescents.
Obese children were also found to have had significantly more relapses on treatment, and were more likely to have switched to second-line treatment.
The study authors are now calling for more research into these findings in a bid to help understand why this occurs.