Background: Most observational studies investigating physical activity as a risk factor for stroke have concentrated on the years preceding a stroke event. In the present case control study we compared the reported level of physical activity performed during the week preceding an ischemic stroke with that of community controls. Furthermore we calculated the odds ratio for stroke based on the level of physical activity.
Subjects and methods: Patients with an ischemic stroke were recruited consecutively from hospitals covering Copenhagen City. Community controls were recruited among participants of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and matched according to age and gender. The level of physical activity was assessed using The Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE), which quantifies the amount of physical activity done in the last 7 days.
Results: A total of 127 cases and 301 control subjects were included in the study. Mean (+/-SD) PASE scores for cases were 76.0 +/- 46.2 and 119.7 +/- 69.4 for controls (p < 0.001). For each 1-point increase in PASE score the odds ratio for ischemic stroke was 0.98 (0.98-0.99), equivalent to an odds ratio of 0.86 (95% CI: 0.82-0.90) for each 10-point increase.
Conclusion: Stroke patients are less physically active in the week preceding an ischemic stroke when compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Increasing PASE score was inversely, log-linearly and significantly associated with odds ratio for ischemic stroke.