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Insulin Resistance, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Lifestyle Modification

Towfighi, Amytis MD

doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000410036.26853.9e
Review Articles

Purpose of Review: This article provides an overview of the effects of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance on stroke risk; outlines the association between healthy lifestyle habits and stroke; and summarizes features of effective lifestyle interventions.

Recent Findings: General obesity, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome are all independently linked with stroke risk and may worsen outcomes after stroke. Five key lifestyle factors-regular exercise, abstinence from smoking, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2, and moderate alcohol use-have been shown to lower the risk of stroke. Collaborative, multidisciplinary, intensive, patient-centered interventions tend to be the most effective for lifestyle change.

Summary: Mounting obesity rates are threatening the gains that have been made in reducing stroke incidence through traditional risk factor control. In order to mitigate the burden of stroke, physicians need to regularly address lifestyle factors when caring for patients.

Address correspondence to Dr Amytis Towfighi, USC Comprehensive Stroke Center, 1520 San Pablo St., Suite 3000, Los Angeles, CA 90033,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Towfighi is a member of the speakers' bureau for Boehringer Ingelheim.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Towfighi reports no disclosure.

© 2011 American Academy of Neurology
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