Multiple Sclerosis in Children

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Story Updated: Feb 1, 2013

A new study suggests obese girls may be at increased risk for multiple sclerosis.

Researchers in California identified 75 children, aged 2 to 18, who had been diagnosed with MS. Records of body mass index before symptoms appeared were also accessed.

The children with MS were then compared to more than 900-thousand children without the disease.

All were grouped by weight - normal, overweight, moderately obese or extremely obese.

Nearly 51-percent of the children with MS were overweight or obese, compared to 37-percent of the children who did not have MS.

The risk of developing MS was more than 1-and-half times higher for overweight girls compared to normal weight girls nearly 1-point-8 times higher in moderately obese girls- and nearly four times higher in extremely obese girls.

The same association was not found in boys.

Once considered rare in children, multiple sclerosis

has become more common, especially in teenage girls. Researchers say an increase in childhood obesity may be one cause.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news for healthier living.

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