Original article| Volume 39, 101889, April 2020

Obesity, dieting, and multiple sclerosis

Published:December 09, 2019DOI:


      • Thirty-seven percent of participants were obese.
      • People with multiple sclerosis were no more likely to adopt a diet than controls.
      • Being obese, younger, female, or non-Hispanic were associated with dieting.



      Obesity is common in the United States and is associated with a higher risk of relapse and comorbidities, and increased disease progression, in people with MS.


      We examined the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the MS Sunshine Study, a matched case-control study of multiple sclerosis in Southern California (470 cases, 519 controls). We reported the proportion of participants who adopted a specific diet for nutrition or weight loss purposes, and identified independent predictors of dieting.


      In the total population, 32% and 37% were overweight and obese, respectively. Case participants were no more likely to adopt a specific diet for nutrition or weight loss purposes than control participants (10% and 11%, respectively). Being obese, younger, female or non-Hispanic were independently associated with dieting.


      Despite the evidence that obesity can worsen MS prognosis, and the high prevalence of overweight/obesity, case participants were no more likely to adopt a specific diet than control participants. Improved nutrition education may help people with MS make healthy dietary changes for nutrition or weight loss purposes.


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