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Despite Being Overweight, Most Do Not Adopt Specific Diets in New Study of People with MS

January 6, 2020

--Study suggests a need for more education about the link between obesity and MS severity

Obesity is common in the general population of the U.S., and is associated with a higher risk of many health issues. In MS, obesity has been linked to increased relapses and disease progression. In a newly published study, although most of the people with MS studied were overweight or obese, only 10% of 470 people with MS and 11% of 519 controls without MS adopted a specific diet to lose weight. This team is led by Rebecca Russell and Lucinda Black, PhD (Curtin University, Perth, Australia).
  • 67% of people with MS and 71% of controls without MS were either overweight or obese. Participants were people from Southern California who were recruited from a previous study, known as the MS Sunshine Study. They were asked if they adopted one of nine suggested diets or an “other” diet for nutrition or weight loss purposes.
  • Hispanic/Latino participants were less likely to adopt a specific diet. People who were female and younger were more likely to adopt a specific diet.
  • The authors suggest the findings point to a need for more MS-focused education about nutrition and the negative impacts that obesity has on overall health and MS symptoms.
  • “Obesity, dieting, and multiple sclerosis” was published online December 9, 2019 in MS and Related Disorders.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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