"Researchers have found that teenage obesity may make women more likely to develop multiple sclerosis later in life.
The study comes from the Harvard School of Public Health and tracks 40 years in the lives of 238,000 women. It found that the women who were obese at 18 years old were twice as likely to develop MS. The findings were published in the medical journal Neurology.
Out of the women studied, 593 developed the condition, which breaks down nerve fibers, causing neurological deterioration.
Oddly enough, neither obesity in childhood nor obesity in adulthood showed any correlation with the condition, according to the report.
“Our results suggest that weight during adolescence, rather than childhood or adulthood, is critical in determining the risk of MS,” study author Kassandra Munger, ScD, told BBC News. “There’s a lot of research supporting the idea that adolescence may be an important time for development of disease, so what we have found is consistent with that.”
According to BBC News, researchers believe that the connection between teen obesity and MS may have something to do with vitamin D levels. Some research has indicated that high levels of vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing MS. Fatty tissue, however, often reduces a person’s vitamin D levels.
“Teaching and practicing obesity prevention from the start - but especially during teenage years - may be an important step in reducing the risk of MS later in life for women,” Munger told the BBC."