No evidence for ‘obesity paradox’ after stroke– study

Obese & normal-weight patients with stroke have the same mortality risk

NO EVIDENCE of an “obesity paradox” was found by researchers of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen, Denmark after earlier studies have suggested overweight or obese patients have lower mortality rates than underweight or normal weight patients with stroke.

“The study was unable to confirm the existence of an obesity paradox in stroke. The risk of obese patients with stroke for death did not differ from that of normal-weight patients with stroke nor was there evidence of a survival advantage associated with being overweight,” wrote the authors of the study.

The researchers studied 71,617 patients of which 7,878 or 11 percent died within the first month. Stroke was reported as the cause of death of 5,512 patients or 70 percent of total deaths.

The authors aimed to determine if the obesity paradox was real or an artificial finding because of selection biases in studies. The researchers therefore only studied deaths caused by index stroke using a Danish register of stroke and a registry of deaths.

The participants provided information like body mass index (BMI), age, stroke type, and stroke severity.

In patients where BMI was available, 9.7 percent were underweight, 39 percent were normal weight, 34.5 percent were overweight, and 16.8 percent were obese.

Obesity was earlier associated with increased health related complications and death; however, some studies have suggested an obesity paradox that may cause some to question striving for a normal weight. With JAMA report

VitalSigns Issue 64 Vol. 3, June 1-30, 2014