Obesity and Recurrent Vascular Risk After a Recent Ischemic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

Although obesity is an established risk factor for the occurrence of a primary stroke, little is known about the impact of baseline obesity on recurrent vascular risk among patients with recently symptomatic cerebrovascular disease. We evaluated the association of obesity with future vascular risk in patients with a recent history of stroke.


We analyzed the database of a multicenter trial involving 20 332 patients with recent ischemic stroke followed for 2.5 years. Subjects were divided into 3 groups according to recognized body mass index categories representing lean, overweight, and obese. Primary outcome was time to first recurrent stroke and secondary outcome time to stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death. The independent association of obesity with outcome was assessed by controlling for other known risk factors.


Of 20 246 eligible subjects, 4805 (24%) were obese. After adjusting for confounders, compared with the lean group, being overweight (hazard ratio, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.85–1.06) or obese (hazard ratio, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.83–1.08) was not associated with increased recurrent stroke risk, but being overweight (hazard ratio, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.77–0.92) or obese (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77–0.96) was associated with lower risk of a major vascular event.


Obesity is not related to recurrent stroke risk, but obese patients with stroke are at lower overall vascular risk than their leaner counterparts, supporting the widely held notion of the existence of a cardiovascular “obesity paradox.”

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