Risk of ischemic stroke in metabolically healthy obesity: A nationwide population-based study.

Research paper by Hyun-Jung HJ Lee, Eue-Keun EK Choi, Seung-Hwan SH Lee, Yong-Jin YJ Kim, Kyung-Do KD Han, Seil S Oh

Indexed on: 31 Mar '18Published on: 31 Mar '18Published in: PloS one


Whether metabolically healthy obese (MHO) individuals are at increased risk of ischemic stroke is not well known. We investigated the association of the MHO phenotype with ischemic stroke. A total of 354,083 adults (age 45.8 ± 14.2 years) from the Korean National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort enrolled in 2004-2008 were followed-up for incident ischemic stroke until 2013. Subjects meeting none of the metabolic syndrome criteria were classified as 'metabolically healthy'. The cohort was categorized into four groups according to obesity and metabolic status: metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW), metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MUNW), MHO, and metabolically unhealthy obese (MUO). Ischemic stroke was newly diagnosed in 4,884 (1.4%) individuals during a mean follow-up of 7.4 ± 1.5 years. Stroke incidence rates for the MHNW, MUNW, MHO, and MUO groups were 0.56, 2.61, 0.61, and 2.76 per 1,000 person-years, respectively. While risk for stroke increased significantly in metabolically unhealthy groups, it was not increased in MHO compared to the MHNW group on multivariate analysis. In metabolically healthy individuals, obesity did not increase the risk for ischemic stroke, regardless of the severity of obesity. Meanwhile, in metabolically unhealthy individuals, being obese was significantly associated with increased risk of stroke. MHO individuals were not at increased risk for ischemic stroke. However, obesity increased risk for ischemic stroke in persons with metabolic risk factors; therefore, maintaining normal weight may be more important for this population. Also, metabolic unhealthiness showed greater association than obesity with stroke.