Adherence to a healthy lifestyle and multiple sclerosis: a case–control study from the UK Biobank

Nicola Veronese, Lin Yang, Laura Piccio, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Wolfgang Marx, Gianluigi Giannelli, Maria Gabriella Caruso, Anna Maria Cisternino, Maria Notarnicola, Rossella Donghia, Mario Barbagallo, Luigi Fontana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common and disabling condition. The importance of healthy lifestyle for this disease is poorly explored. Objective: To test whether adherence to healthier lifestyle patterns is associated with a lower presence of multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: By using a case–control design, we investigated the combined association of four healthy lifestyle-related factors (no current smoking, healthy diet, exercising regularly, body mass index <30 kg/m2) and the prevalence of MS. A logistic regression analysis, adjusted for potential confounders, was used and data reported as odds ratios (ORs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: 728 participants with MS were matched with healthy controls (n = 2,912) using a propensity score approach. In a multivariable analysis, compared to those who scored low in the composite lifestyle score (0–1 healthy lifestyle factors), people who adopted all four low risk lifestyle factors showed a 71% lower odds of having MS (OR = 0.29; 95% CI: 0.15–0.56). Moreover, there was a strong linear trend, suggesting that the higher number of healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with lower odds of having MS. Conclusion: Following a healthy lifestyle is associated with a lower prevalence of MS. This association should be explored further in cohort studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1239
Number of pages9
JournalNutritional Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • UK biobank
  • exercise
  • healthy diet
  • healthy lifestyle
  • obesity
  • smoking


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