Risk of stroke from obesity is now measurable

1 min read

Gaining 6 to 7 pounds can potentially increase stroke risk in men by 6 percent

While it has been suspected for some time that being overweight could potentially increase a person’s chances of a stroke, a study published in the Dec. 9, 2002, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine offers some of the first concrete evidence that as a man’s weight increases, so do his chances of suffering from a stroke. Stroke accounts for one in every 14 deaths in the U.S., making it the third leading cause of death and disability. For 12 years, 21,414 physicians who participated in the long-running Physicians’ Health Study had their body mass index, or BMI – their weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters – recorded. In all, 747 strokes occurred. Men with a BMI of 30 or higher were found to be twice as likely to have a stroke compared with men who had a BMI of less than 23. The analysis also showed that for each unit increase in BMI, a man’s chances of having a stroke increased by 6 percent. Generally, a unit increase in BMI translates into a weight gain of roughly 7.4 pounds for a 6-foot man and 6.2 pounds for a 5-foot-6-inch man.