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Beyond Obesity: Waist-to-Hip Ratio May Be Better Predictor of Stroke Risk

Denver, Colo. – 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 54th 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 is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Editor's Notes:Dr. Suk will present the research during a poster presentation on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. in Exhibit Hall C at the Colorado Convention Center.

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