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Smoking, High Early-Life BMI Projected to Add to MS Burden

Authors estimate the contribution of smoking, high child BMI as risk factors for MS in 2015, 2025, 2035

THURSDAY, Aug. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The combined estimated multiple sclerosis (MS) population-attributable fractions (PAFs) for smoking and childhood and adolescent high body mass index (BMI) vary from 11 to 14 percent in conservative estimates, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Julia Pakpoor, B.M., B.Ch., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues estimated and projected the proportion of MS incidence that could be prevented with elimination of smoking and childhood and adolescent high BMI. The MS PAFs of smoking and high BMI were estimated as individual and combined risk factors in 2015, 2025, and 2035.

The researchers found that in a conservative estimate, in 2015, the combined estimated PAFs for smoking and high BMI were 14, 11, 12, and 12 percent for the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and Australia, respectively, with estimated PAFs of 21, 20, 19, and 16 percent, respectively, in an independent estimate. Over time, estimates for smoking are declining, while those for high early-life BMI are increasing. The United States had the highest PAF for high early-life BMI, which is projected to increase to 14 percent by 2035.

“These data indicate the magnitude of the problem and highlight the need to act urgently,” the authors write. “They inform the MS community of potential gains in MS prevention from joining forces with existing preventive campaigns to tackle the leading drivers of premature morbidity and mortality.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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