Background: Adiposity is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but the relationship of adiposity with the risk of cerebrovascular disease is still to some extent unclear.
Methods: We prospectively investigated the association of different indicators of adiposity (body mass index [BMI] [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared], waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio) with total and type-specific stroke incidence among 49 996 Finnish participants who were aged 25 to 74 years and free of coronary heart disease and stroke at baseline.
Results: During a 19.5-year follow-up, 3228 people developed an incident stroke event (674 hemorrhagic and 2554 ischemic). Compared with normal-weight men (BMI, 18.5-24.9), the multivariate-adjusted (age, study year, smoking, physical activity, educational level, family history of stroke, and alcohol drinking) hazard ratios among lean (BMI, < 18.5), overweight (BMI, 25.0-29.9), and obese (BMI, > or = 30.0) men were 0.74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18-2.96), 1.23 (95% CI, 1.10-1.37), and 1.59 (95% CI, 1.37-1.83) for total stroke, and 0.49 (95% CI, 0.07-3.50), 1.27 (95% CI, 1.12-1.44), and 1.70 (95% CI, 1.45-2.00) for ischemic stroke, respectively. Among women, the corresponding hazard ratios were 1.87 (95% CI, 1.12-3.14), 1.08 (95% CI, 0.95-1.22), and 1.30 (95% CI, 1.14-1.50) for total stroke, and 1.81 (95% CI, 0.97-3.41), 1.11 (95% CI, 0.96-1.28), and 1.41 (95% CI, 1.21-1.64) for ischemic stroke. Abdominal adiposity, defined as the highest quartile of waist circumference or waist-hip ratio, was associated with a greater risk of total and ischemic stroke in men but not in women.
Conclusions: Body mass index was a risk factor for total and ischemic stroke in men and women. Abdominal adiposity was a risk factor for total and ischemic stroke only in men.