Apr. 18, 2002 DENVER, CO – Obesity, as measured by a person’s body mass index, has been shown to be an important risk factor for overall mortality as well as coronary heart disease. Less clear is the relationship of obesity to stroke risk. Researchers have recently identified that waist-to-hip ratio, independent of body mass index (BMI), may be a better predictor of stroke risk, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
In a population-based, case-control study, researchers from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York discovered that of 576 stroke victims, the mean waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was greater than among the non-stroke control group of 1,142 people. However, the mean BMI was greater in the control group.
“What our data outcomes indicate is that the effect of WHR on stroke risk is independent of BMI, and may be even more relevant among those who are in the normal and overweight categories versus those who are obese,” notes study author Seung-Han Suk, MD. A person with a BMI of 25 or less is considered to be of normal weight; with a BMI of 25 to 30 is regarded as overweight; and with a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese.
“We strongly recommend that stroke prevention programs incorporate education about the WHR factor, in addition to general weight management plans,” concludes Suk.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at http://www.aan.com/.
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