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Obesity and Ischemic Stroke - Weight Loss Facts
Abdominal / Visceral Obesity is Independent Potent Risk Factor for Strokes
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Abdominal Obesity and Risk of Ischemic Stroke

Obesity & Stroke Study Aim
Obesity is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and mortality. The relationship between abdominal/ visceral obesity and ischemic stroke however remains less clear. The aim of this obesity study was to evaluate abdominal obesity as an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke in a multiethnic community.

Obesity & Stroke Study Method
A population-based, incident case-control study was conducted July 1993 through June 1997 in northern Manhattan, New York, NY. Cases (n=576) of first ischemic stroke (66% BORDER="0">65 years of age; 56% women; 17% whites; 26% blacks; 55% Hispanics) were enrolled and matched by age, sex, and race-ethnicity to stroke-free community controls. All subjects were interviewed and examined and had measurements of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Odds ratios (ORs) of ischemic stroke were calculated with gender-specific quartiles (GQs) and gender-specific medians of WHR adjusted for stroke risk factors and body mass index (BMI).

Obesity & Stroke Study Results
Compared with the first quartile, the third and fourth quartiles of WHR had an increased risk of stroke (GQ3: OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5 to 3.9; GQ4: OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.8 to 4.8) adjusted for other risk factors and BMI. Those with waist-to-hip ratio equal to or greater than the median had an overall OR of 3.0 (95% CI, 2.1 to 4.2) for ischemic stroke even after adjustment for other risk factors and BMI. Increased WHR was associated with a greater risk of stroke in men and women and in all race-ethnic groups. The effect of waist-to-hip ratio was stronger among younger persons. WHR was associated with an increased risk among those with and without large-artery atherosclerotic stroke.

Obesity & Stroke Study Conclusion
Abdominal /visceral obesity is an independent, potent risk factor for ischemic stroke in all race-ethnic groups. It is a stronger risk factor than BMI and has a greater effect among younger persons. Prevention of obesity and weight reduction need greater emphasis in stroke prevention programs.

Source: American Heart Association, Inc

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