Childhood obesity is a risk factor for MS

How to get your children to lose weight? It is important as it may lower their risk of getting MS. #MSBlog #MSResearch

"We have previously posted on the association between obesity and MS risk. This case control study below, using body size silhouettes, confirms an association between obesity and MS risk in Norwegians, but not Italians. Why? Could this be due to low vitamin D levels? Obesity is linked to low vitamin D levels and hence obesity and MS risk may simply be an association. The fact that obesity was not linked to MS risk in Italy suggests vD may be the reason. Native Italians who live closer to equator, and hence get better sunlight exposure, have higher vD levels, which may protect them from getting MS."

"Interestingly the risk of an identical twin getting MS when one twin is affected is ~30% in Norway, but less than 10% in Italy. Again this observation may be due to different exposure(s) to environmental factors in Italy compared to Norway despite a similar genetic susceptibility. Obesity is also associated with changes in oestrogen levels, i.e. higher levels, and this may contribute to MS risk. At the end of the day childhood obesity is another thing to avoid, particularly if you have a family history of MS. My worry about this statement is that it is going make MSers with children anxious about their children's' weight."

"Obesity is something I need to add to my Holistic Approach to MS London Tube map analogy."

Epub: Wesnes et al. Body size and the risk of multiple sclerosis in Norway and Italy: The EnvIMS study.Mult Scler. 2014 Sep. pii: 1352458514546785.

BACKGROUND: Obesity may be a risk factor for developing MS.

OBJECTIVE: We examined if body size influences the risk of MS in a population-based, case control study. 

METHODS: A total of 953 cases and 1717 controls from Norway and 707 cases and 1333 controls from Italy reported their body size by choosing a silhouette 1 to 9 (largest) every fifth year from age 5 to 30 and at time of study. The body size-related MS risk was defined by odds ratios (ORs) in logistic regression analyses adjusting for age, smoking and outdoor activity.

RESULTS: In Norway a large body size (silhouettes 6-9) compared to silhouette 3 increased the risk of MS, especially at age 25 (OR 2.21; 95% CI 1.09-4.46 for men and OR 1.43; 95% CI 0.90-2.27 for women). When comparing silhouette 9 to 1, we found a significant dose-response from age 10 until age 30 peaking at age 25 (sex-adjusted OR 2.83; 95% CI 1.68-4.78). The association was present for at least 15 years prior to disease onset. No significant associations were found in Italy.

CONCLUSIONS: Obesity from childhood until young adulthood is a likely risk factor for MS with a seemingly stronger effect in Norway than in Italy.

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