Healthy diet and lifestyle and risk of stroke in a prospective cohort of women

Neurology. 2014 Nov 4;83(19):1699-704. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000954. Epub 2014 Oct 8.


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/m(2). 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Women's Health*