Middle aged women who do not care about their expanding waistlines may face higher risk of stoke, U.S. researchers told a health conference Wednesday.
Researchers saw that the stroke rate had spiked in middle-aged women aged 35 to 54, nearly 2 percent in the most recent National Health survey conducted from 1999 to 2004, compared with only half a percent in the previous survey, from 1988 to 1994.
They looked deeper and found that the portion of women with abdominal obesity rose from 47 percent in the earlier survey to 59 percent in the recent one. Meanwhile the comparison showed that women's waistlines were nearly five cm bigger than they were a decade earlier, rising from 27 in the earlier survey to 29 in the latter one.
"Abdominal obesity is a known predictor of stroke in women and may be a key factor in the midlife stroke surge in women," said Amytis Towfighi, a neurology specialist who led the study at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
The stroke stayed about the same -- around 1 percent -- in middle-aged men.
Statistics show that stroke is the third leading cause of death and a major cause of long term disability in the United States.
The new research indicated the need to intensify efforts in curbing the obesity epidemic in the United States, said Towfighi.
(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2008)