Obesity and the risk of stroke in women

January 01, 0001

Obesity and the risk of stroke in women

Recent data has found that US females aged 45-54 to be a significantly higher risk of stroke than males. In this study, these US researchers assessed stroke risk factor prevalence among participants aged 35 to 64 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey conducted first in 1988 to 1994 (n=7234) and then again in 1999 to 2004 (n=6499) to see if this gender disparity was previously present and to compare risk factor prevalence.

The researchers found: "Women aged 35 to 54 years who participated in NHANES from 1999 to 2004 were 3 times more likely to have experienced a stroke compared with similarly aged women in NHANES 1988 to 1994 (1.8% versus 0.6%), but stroke prevalence among men did not change (0.9% versus 1.0%). Among women, the prevalence of obesity (15.2% versus 17.9%), morbid obesity (12.8% versus 17.5%), abdominal obesity (47.4% versus 58.9%), hypertriglyceridemia (22.91% versus 26.78%), and hypertension (33.04% versus 37.43%) was lower in NHANES 1988 to 1994 compared with the more recent NHANES wave. Higher waist circumference was the only independent stroke risk factor for women aged 35 to 54 years in NHANES 1999 to 2004 (OR per 15-cm increase in waist circumference=1.02)."

The researchers concluded: "Stroke prevalence among women aged 35 to 54 years has tripled over the past 2 decades, at the same time remaining stable among men. Prevalence of obesity and 3 metabolic syndrome components increased, and they may be key factors in the increase in women’s stroke prevalence."

This study finds a worrisome increase in stroke risk for females, which in part may be attributable to increasing rates of obesity.

For the full abstract, click here.

Stroke 41(7):1371-1375, July 2010
© 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.
Weight of the Obesity Epidemic: Rising Stroke Rates Among Middle-Aged Women in the United States. Amytis Towfighi, Ling Zheng, Bruce Ovbiagele. Correspondence to Amytis Towfighi: [email protected]

Category: N. Neurological. Keywords: stroke, prevalence, obesity, metabolic syndrome, gender disparity, cross-sectional study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 14 September 2010

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