Excessive body weight from adolescence into young adulthood is linked to later risk of multiple sclerosis

Takeaway

  • Being overweight or obese in adolescence or young adulthood is linked to an increased risk of later being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis irrespective of gender.

Why this matters

  • Western societies have seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of multiple sclerosis over the last few decades and it has been suggested that this may reflect the world-wide obesity epidemic in young adults. This unique cohort study used a database in which anthropometrics were measured in a standardized and objective manner in a vast Norwegian population.

  • The findings of this robust population-based study suggest that excess weight in earlier life is associated with increased later risk of multiple sclerosis, with a consistently increased risk if obesity is present during adolescence and persists into young adulthood.