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HHS HealthBeat (June 21, 2013)

Teens in the Stroke Belt

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Stroke Risk Factors

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A wide swath of the Southeast leads the nation in stroke deaths. It’s called the Stroke Belt. And a study has picked up the higher risk from living in the Stroke Belt as a teenager. Researcher Virginia Howard of the University of Alabama at Birmingham saw this in data from a national sample of 24,500 people.

“After adjustment for other risk factors, only living in the Stroke Belt during the teenage years was associated with the higher stroke risk.”

Dr. Howard thinks poor lifestyle choices about eating and not being active are set in the teen years, and continue in adulthood even among people who left the Stroke Belt after their teen years.

The study in the journal Neurology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: June 21, 2013