medwireNews: Exercise does not reduce women’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), an analysis of data on more than 193,000 women shows.
Achieving higher than average levels of physical activity (18.4 to 124.9 metabolic equivalent hours per week) was associated with a 27% reduced rate of MS compared with low levels (≤2.5 metabolic equivalent hours per week).
But Kassandra Munger (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues note in Neurology that this association was not present in 6-year lagged analyses, which suggests that “lower physical activity could have been an early sign, rather than cause, of MS.”
The women, participants of the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the NHS II, were monitored for up to 20 years, during which time there were 341 confirmed cases of MS. The findings were adjusted for age, ethnicity, smoking, supplemental vitamin D, place of residence at age 15 years and body mass index at 18 years of age.
“Overall, there was no consistent association of exercise at any age and MS”, Munger told the press. “Exercise has been shown to be beneficial to people with the disease, but it seems unlikely that exercise protects against the risk of developing MS.”
By Lucy Piper
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