Healthy lifestyle behaviors decrease risk of stroke in women

Question

Do healthy lifestyle behaviors reduce the risk of stroke in older women?

What was done?

31,696 women completed a questionnaire about their diet and lifestyle. A group with “healthy” lifestyles was identified, i.e. had a diet in the top 50% of recommended food score, had moderate alcohol consumption, never smoked, walked/bicycled more than 40 minutes a day, exercised more than 60 minutes a week, and had a body mass index (BMI) of below 25kg/m2. The risk of stroke was compared between the healthy lifestyle group and non-healthy lifestyle group over 10-year follow-up period.

What was found?

Individuals with all of the healthy behaviors were at the lowest risk of stroke. Risk increased as unhealthy lifestyle behaviors were added.

How does this affect me?

By making small changes in your lifestyle, i.e. diet and exercise, you can reduce your risk of having a stroke later in life.

Article Abstract

Objective: To investigate the association between a low-risk lifestyle and risk of stroke.
Methods: The study population comprised 31,696 women, in the population-based Swedish Mammography Cohort who at baseline had completed a questionnaire about diet and lifestyle and were free from cardiovascular disease and cancer. We defined a low-risk lifestyle as a healthy diet (top 50% of a Recommended Food Score), moderate alcohol consumption (5–15 g/d), never smoking, physically active (walking/bicycling ≥40 min/d and exercise ≥1 h/wk), and body mass index below 25 kg/m2. Stroke cases were identified from the Swedish National Patient Register and the Swedish Cause of Death Register.
Results: We ascertained 1,554 incident stroke cases, including 1,155 cerebral infarctions, 246 hemorrhagic strokes, and 153 unspecified strokes during 10.4 years of follow-up. The risk of stroke, in particular cerebral infarction, decreased steadily with increasing number of low-risk lifestyle factors. Compared with no low-risk factors, the multivariable relative risks (95% confidence interval) of cerebral infarction across increasing number of low-risk factors (1–5) were 0.72 (0.56–0.93), 0.67 (0.52–0.85), 0.57 (0.44–0.74), 0.54 (0.40–0.73), and 0.38 (0.20–0.73).
Conclusions: These findings indicate that a low-risk lifestyle can substantially reduce the risk of stroke, especially cerebral infarction.

Article Citation

Larsson, S. C., Åkesson, A., & Wolk, A. (2014). Healthy diet and lifestyle and risk of stroke in a prospective cohort of women. Neurology, 83(19), 1699-1704.

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