Obesity and MS


Obesity reportedly increases the risk for developing multiple sclerosis (MS), but little is known about its association with disability accumulation.

In this nationwide longitudinal cohort study (Association of obesity with disease outcome in multiple sclerosis Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2023;94:57-61.) included 1066 individuals with newly diagnosed MS from the German National MS cohort. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, relapse rates, MRI findings and choice of immunotherapy were compared at baseline and at years 2, 4 and 6 between obese (body mass index, BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and non-obese (BMI <30 kg/m2) patients and correlated with individual BMI values.

Presence of obesity at disease onset was associated with higher disability at baseline and at 2, 4 and 6 years of follow-up (p<0.001). Median time to reach EDSS 3 was 0.99 years for patients with BMI ≥30 kg/m2 and 1.46 years for non-obese patients. Risk to reach EDSS 3 over 6 years was significantly increased in patients with BMI ≥30 kg/m2 compared with patients with BMI <30 kg/m2 after adjustment for sex, age, smoking (HR 1.87; 95% CI 1.3 to 2.6; log-rank test p<0.001) and independent of disease-modifying therapies.

The authors concluded that obesity management could improve clinical outcome of MS.