Obesity Linked to Poor Emotional, Physical Outcomes in MS

weight scale
weight scale
A comprehensive approach to managing depression may have far-reaching effects.

A higher body mass index (BMI) is linked to  lower quality of life (QOL), greater depression symptoms, and decreased walking speed in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to study results presented at the 2016 CMSC Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD.

Previous evidence points to a relationship between obesity, QOL, and depression in MS patients. To further understand the implications of BMI in MS, Lucille Carriere, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro, TN, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study in patients from a Cleveland Clinic database. In total, 2256 patients with MS were included, of which 67% were classified as overweight/obese.

Using multivariate linear regression analysis, both depression and BMI were found to be significant predictors of ambulation and walking speed, as measured by the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) test. As depression worsened or BMI increased, walking speeds decreased. Likewise, a higher BMI was linked to a significantly higher Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) total score, a measure of depression, and a significant decrease in QOL, as evidenced by a lower EuroQOL (EQ-5D) index score, was tied to higher BMI.

With limitations in ambulation tied to poor QOL, the authors suggest that both weight loss programs and regular depression screening in MS patients is necessary. Longitudinal studies and research into the impact of comorbidities on obesity and MS may add to the clinical utility of this association and potentially improve outcomes in MS patients.

Disclosures: Amy Sullivan reported consulting fees from the Novartis and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

For more coverage of CMSC 2016, go here. 


Carrier, LJ, Sullivan AB, Stone LA. Abstract CG31. Relationship Between Body Mass Index, Depression, and Ambulation in a Multiple Sclerosis Population. Presented at: CMSC Annual Meeting 2016. June 1-4, 2016; National Harbor, MD.