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Does teenage obesity increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in women?

A study involving more than 200,000 women and conducted during a span of 40 years has concluded that teenage women who are obese may be more than twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) as adults compared to female teens who are not obese. These findings were published in a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Participants reported their weight and height at age 18. Scientists then calculated their body mass index (BMI). The women were also asked to choose one of nine body silhouettes, ranging from very thin to extremely obese, to describe their body size at five, 10 and 20 years old. The study found that women who had a BMI of 30 or larger at age 18 had more than twice the risk of developing MS compared to those with a BMI between 18.5 and 20.9. One explanation is that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are thought to reduce disease risk. People who are obese tend to have lower vitamin D levels compared to people who are not obese.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.