American Heart AsscociationObesity is a dangerous condition which may cause numerous health problems. A study claims that race and gender appears to play no significant role in obesity and the consequent risk of stroke.

The study examined the ARIC Study database in which participants’ BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio was gauged at the study’s commencement. Around 13,549 middle-aged black and white men and women in about four U.S. communities were tracked from 1987 till 2005. In the beginning of the study, none of the volunteers had cancer or any cardiovascular disease.

Hiroshi Yatsuya, M.D., Ph.D., study lead author and visiting associate professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, commented, “It has not been clear whether overweight and obesity are risk factors for stroke, especially among blacks. There are also questions about which measure of excess weight (body mass index [BMI], waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio) is most closely associated with disease risk.”

During the follow-up duration of around 19 years, roughly 598 ischemic strokes took place. The study authors computed a frequency tempo, the amount of new cases for each 1,000 people per year, as per groups on behalf of diverse levels of obesity, via every obesity measure.

They discovered that occurrence rates seemed to vary considerably between whites and blacks. For instance, the stroke rate appears to be the in lowest BMI category was 1.2 per 1,000 person-years for white women and around 4.3 per 1,000 person-years for black women. The tempo in the maximum BMI category seemed to be 2.2 for white women and 8.0 for black men.

Yatsuya mentioned, “Black women had about three times higher incidence of stroke than white women in the lowest as well as in the highest BMI categories. But the correlation between increasing stroke incidence and increasing degree of obesity was apparent in both races and genders.”

People in the maximum BMI group apparently had about 1.43 to 2.12 times elevated danger of stroke, irrespective of race and gender, as opposed to the lowest BMI category. When waist circumference was utilized as a measure of obesity as an alternative to BMI, those threat ratios appeared to vary from 1.65 to 3.19; and 1.69 to 2.55 when waist-to-hip ratio was used. Therefore, for any obesity measure, people in the maximum group had approximately two times more elevated danger of stroke against the lowest category in every race-sex group.

Yatsuya remarked, “Since individuals with higher degrees of obesity tended to have higher blood pressure levels or higher diabetes prevalence, we further examined the relationship between the degree of obesity and ischemic stroke incidence by statistically adjusting for difference in blood pressure of diabetes status attributed to the degree of obesity. That significantly weakened the associations, suggesting these major risk factors explain much of the obesity-stroke association.”

The study appears to re-emphasize the necessity to avert obesity in general. But, as per Yatsuya, clinical trials could be required to decide whether obesity prevention or control may in fact reduce stroke occurrence.

The study was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.