Teenage weight gain linked to increased stroke risk as an adult

June 28, 2017, American Academy of Neurology
Micrograph showing cortical pseudolaminar necrosis, a finding seen in strokes on medical imaging and at autopsy. H&E-LFB stain. Credit: Nephron/Wikipedia

Kids who become overweight during their teenage years may be more likely to develop a stroke decades later than kids who did not become overweight during those years, according to a study published in the June 28, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"The rate has been increasing among young adults even while it has been decreasing for older people," said study author Jenny M. Kindblom, MD, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. "While we don't know the reasons for this increase, it has occurred at the same time as the obesity epidemic."

The study involved 37,669 Swedish men whose (BMI) was measured at age 8 and again at age 20. From age 20, they were followed for an average of 38 years. During that time, 918 men had strokes.

Men with excessive BMI increase from childhood to age 20 had a higher risk of stroke than men with average BMI increase. For every two-point increase in BMI, men were 20 percent more likely to have a stroke.

Men who were at age 8 but overweight at age 20 were 80 percent more likely to have a stroke. Of the 1,800 in this group, 67 had a stroke, or 3.7 percent.

Men who were overweight at both time points were 70 percent more likely to have a stroke. Of the 990 people in this group, 36 had a stroke, or 3.6 percent.

BMI at childhood was not on its own associated with an increased risk of stroke. Men who were of normal weight at both age 8 and age 20 and men who were overweight at age 8 but normal weight at age 20 did not have any increased risk of stroke. Of the 33,511 men who were of normal weight both at age 8 and age 20, 779 had a stroke during the study, or 2.3 percent. Of the 1,368 men who were overweight at age 8 and normal at age 20, 36 had a stroke, or 2.6 percent.

Kindblom noted that the study was observational and does not prove that the increase in BMI causes the increase in stroke, it just shows the association.

The study also found that people with high increases in BMI from age 8 to age 20 also were more likely to have as adults. People with high blood pressure are more likely to have stroke.

Kindblom said limitations of the study include that researchers could not control for important risk factors for stroke such as smoking, exercise and high cholesterol and that the participants were mainly white men and the results may not apply to other groups. She also noted that the obesity rates in the study group of men born in 1945 to 1961 were lower than current obesity rates.

"Today's environment that is so conducive to obesity may even further heighten the relationship we saw between increase in BMI and risk of stroke," she said.

Explore further: No sign of 'obesity paradox' in obese patients with stroke

Related Stories

No sign of 'obesity paradox' in obese patients with stroke

June 2, 2014
Researchers found no evidence of an "obesity paradox" (some studies have suggested overweight or obese patients have lower mortality rates than underweight or normal weight patients) in patients with stroke.

Higher levels of biomarker linked to increased stroke risk for women

May 10, 2017
Women with elevated levels of a protein in their blood may be at a higher risk of ischemic stroke, according to a study published in the May 10, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Study explores link between weight and stroke risk in women

September 8, 2016
(HealthDay)—Excess weight may put women at increased risk for ischemic stroke, but at lower risk for hemorrhagic stroke, according to research published online Sept. 7 in Neurology.

How much does African-American race play a role in stroke risk?

January 20, 2016
Even though young African-Americans are at three times greater risk of a first stroke than their white counterparts, they may not be at a higher risk for a second stroke, according to a study published in the January 20, ...

Biomarkers may help better predict who will have a stroke

August 24, 2016
People with high levels of four biomarkers in the blood may be more likely to develop a stroke than people with low levels of the biomarkers, according to a study published in the August 24, 2016, online issue of Neurology, ...

Pre-stroke risk factors influence long-term future stroke, dementia risk

July 14, 2016
If you had heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, before your first stroke, your risk of suffering subsequent strokes and dementia up to five years later may be higher, according to new research in the American ...

Recommended for you

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning

February 23, 2018
Although we have known for several years that the adult brain can produce new neurons, many questions about the properties conferred by these adult-born neurons were left unanswered. What advantages could they offer that ...

Study in mice suggests personalized stem cell treatment may offer relief for multiple sclerosis

February 22, 2018
Scientists have shown in mice that skin cells re-programmed into brain stem cells, transplanted into the central nervous system, help reduce inflammation and may be able to help repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis ...

Nolan film 'Memento' reveals how the brain remembers and interprets events from clues

February 22, 2018
Key repeating moments in the film give viewers the information they need to understand the storyline. The scenes cause identical reactions in the viewer's brain. The results deepen our understanding of how the brain functions, ...

Biomarker, clues to possible therapy found in novel childhood neurogenetic disease

February 22, 2018
Researchers studying a rare genetic disorder that causes severe, progressive neurological problems in childhood have discovered insights into biological mechanisms that drive the disease, along with early clues that an amino ...

A look at the space between mouse brain cells

February 22, 2018
Between the brain's neurons and glial cells is a critical but understudied structure that's been called neuroscience's final frontier: the extracellular space. With a new imaging paradigm, scientists can now see into and ...

Schizophrenia a side effect of human development

February 21, 2018
Schizophrenia may have evolved as an "unwanted side effect" of the development of the complex human brain, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.