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MS: Another risk for overweight kids

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By now we all know the risks faced by overweight kids. You can add another, Kaiser Permanente researchers have found a link between childhood obesity and Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis.

Dr. Mary Rensel of the Cleveland Clinic treats children with M.S.

"Fat increases the inflammation in the body and Multiple Sclerosis is an auto-immune condition where the immune system is set too high. So, if there's too much inflammation, it can increase the risk of having a disorder that is associated with inflammation, M. S. is one of those," explained Dr. Rensel.

Half of the kids in the Kaiser Permanente study with M. S. were found to be overweight or obese. The risk appears even greater for overweight girls, and grows to four times higher for extremely obese girls.

"It's thought to be related to the hormone levels that are changing," said Dr. Rensel.  "This was girls ages 11 to18 that it seemed to be affecting, the weight in the girls 11 to 18 seemed to increase the risk of M. S. if they were overweight."

The key to this, according to Dr. Rensel, is what parents, patients and doctors do with the new information. 

"We can educate parents and patients that it is very important to maintain a healthy weight, a good amount of exercise and good diet, to decrease the chance of having consequences from being overweight," Rensel said.

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