Background: Associations between obesity and lacunar, nonlacunar thrombotic, and cardioembolic stroke are not firmly established. Methods: Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were recorded at baseline between 1987 and 1989 in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study for 13 549 black and white adults who were aged from 45 to 64 years and had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. The incidence of ischemic stroke subtypes was ascertained from surveillance of hospital records over a median follow-up of 16.9 years. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, race, education, smoking status and cigarette years, usual ethanol intake, and leisure time sports index were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs). Results: The ARIC sample at baseline was 43.8% men and 27.3% blacks; mean age was 53.9 years. Mean BMI, waist circumference, and WHR were 27.7 kg/m2, 96.8 cm, and 0.92, respectively. The associations of lacunar (n = 138), nonlacunar (n = 338), and cardioembolic (n = 122) ischemic stroke incidence with obesity measures were all generally positive and linear. The HRs for the highest versus lowest quintile of the 3 obesity measures ranged from 1.43–2.21 for lacunar stroke, 1.90–2.16 for nonlacunar stroke, and 2.37–2.91 for cardioembolic stroke. Conclusions: Although different pathophysiological mechanisms may exist, the incidences of lacunar, nonlacunar, and cardioembolic stroke were all significantly positively associated with the degree of obesity, regardless of the measure used.
Background: Pregnant women are exposed to tobacco smoke through active smoking and contact with secondhand smoke (SHS), and these exposures have a significant impact on public health. We investigated the factors that mediate active smoking, successful quitting, and SHS exposure among pregnant women in Crete, Greece. Methods: Using a cotinine-validated questionnaire, data were collected on active smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke from 1291 women who had successfully completed the first contact questionnaire of the prospective mother-child cohort (Rhea) in Crete during the 12th week of pregnancy. Results: Active smoking at some time during pregnancy was reported by 36% of respondents, and 17% were current smokers at week 12 of gestation. Those less likely to quit smoking during pregnancy were those married to a smoker (OR, 1.76; P = 0.008), those who were multiparous (1.72; P = 0.011), and those with young husbands. Of the 832 (64%) nonsmokers, almost all (94%, n = 780) were exposed to SHS, with the majority exposed at home (72%) or in a public place (64%). Less educated women and younger women were exposed more often than their better educated and older peers (P < 0.001). Adjusting for potential confounders, parental level of education, age, and ethnicity were the main mediators of exposure to SHS during pregnancy. Conclusions: Active smoking and exposure to SHS are very prevalent among pregnant women in Greece. The above findings indicate the need for support of population-based educational interventions aimed at smoking cessation in both parents, as well as of the importance of establishing smoke-free environments in both private and public places.
Background: The objective of this study was to assess the agreement and repeatability of 2 methods of measuring habitual coffee consumption, and to examine their homogeneity with respect to socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. Methods: Data on coffee consumption were collected from 4254 subjects by means of a health questionnaire (HQ) and a 1-year dietary history interview (DHI), the latter of which was used as the reference method during the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey conducted in 1973–1976. Short-term repeatability of the methods was assessed using data from 286 and 93 subjects who repeated the HQ and the DHI, respectively, after an interval of 4 to 8 months. The strength of agreement between the 2 methods and between the repeated measurements was estimated using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Results: The ICC was 0.86 for the agreement between the HQ and the DHI, and 0.77 and 0.85 for the repeatability of the HQ and the DHI, respectively. There were no statistically significant systematic differences in mean intake values between the 2 methods or between repeated measurements. In subgroup analysis of background variables, there were only minor differences in agreement and repeatability, with somewhat higher ICC values among subjects with a healthier lifestyle and higher education. Conclusions: The high reliability and homogeneity of the health questionnaire make it a useful tool for measuring habitual coffee consumption for the purposes of epidemiological research.
Background: A number of lifestyle factors, including smoking and drinking, are known to be independently associated with all-cause mortality. However, it might be more effective in motivating the public to adopt a healthier lifestyle if the combined effect of several lifestyle factors on all-cause mortality could be demonstrated in a straightforward manner. Methods: We examined the combined effects of 6 healthy lifestyle behaviors on all-cause mortality by estimating life expectancies at 40 and 60 years of age among 62 106 participants in a prospective cohort study with a 14.5-year follow-up. The healthy behaviors selected were current nonsmoking, not heavily drinking, walking 1 hour or more per day, sleeping 6.5 to 7.4 hours per day, eating green leafy vegetables almost daily, and having a BMI between 18.5 to 24.9. Results: At age 40, we found a 10.3-year increase in life expectancy for men and a 8.3-year increase for women who had all 6 healthy behaviors, as compared with those who had only 0 to 2 healthy behaviors. Increases of 9.6 and 8.2 years were observed for men and women, respectively, at age 60 with all 6 healthy behaviors. When comparing currently nonsmoking individuals with 0 to 1 healthy behaviors, the life expectancy of smokers was shorter in both men and women, even if they maintained all 5 other healthy behaviors. Conclusions: Among individuals aged 40 and 60 years, maintaining all 6 healthy lifestyle factors was associated with longer life expectancy. Smokers should be encouraged to quit smoking first and then to maintain or adopt the other 5 lifestyle factors.
Background: Studies have suggested that daidzein-metabolizing phenotypes have beneficial effects on a range of health outcomes. We investigated the prevalence of equol producers and the relationship of equol phenotype with habitual isoflavone consumption and serum lipid concentrations in 200 Chinese adults in Beijing. Methods: After the baseline survey and dietary records, 200 healthy adults in Beijing were challenged with a soy-isoflavone supplement for 3 days; 24-hour urine samples were collected before and after the challenge. Isoflavones and their metabolites in urine were measured to determine equol phenotype. Serum lipids, uric acid, and other biochemical markers were also measured. Results: Only 26.8% of the participants excreted equol when on a regular diet, as compared with 60.4% after the challenge. After the challenge, urinary isoflavonoid excretion increased in all participants, while equol excretion increased only in equol producers. Isoflavone intake was correlated with urinary isoflavone (range r = 0.49–0.58, P < 0.01). As compared with nonproducers, equol producers were less likely to consume cereals (P < 0.001). There was no significant correlation between serum lipids and isoflavone intake. Serum lipids were not significantly affected by equol phenotype. Conclusions: Urinary equol excretion was detected in about 25% of participants under their usual dietary conditions. Their potential to produce equol was increased after the challenge. Urinary isoflavone levels may serve as a useful biomarker for isoflavone intake in populations. We observed an association between equol phenotype and cereal intake. Our findings also suggest that dietary isoflavone intake has no significant effect on serum lipids in healthy participants, regardless of equol phenotype.
Background: Studies of Western populations have shown an inconsistent longitudinal association between short sleep duration and change in body mass index (BMI); a recent Japanese cohort study reported a significant association in men, but over a 1-year period. The aim of this longitudinal study was to examine whether this association was robust over a 4-year interval in Japanese men. Methods: A total of 3803 middle-aged Japanese male white-collar workers (mean age 47.8 years, mean BMI 23.9 kg/m2) in Tokyo, Japan, were included in this study from 1994–1995 (baseline) to 1998–1999 (follow-up). Height and weight were objectively measured at annual health checkups, and other data, including sleep duration, were collected using a structured interview. We used linear regression models to estimate change in BMI, after adjustment for covariates. The reference category for sleep duration was set to 7 hours, to conform with previous studies. Results: As compared with participants sleeping 7 hours, those sleeping 5 hours or less had a significantly higher BMI at baseline (beta coefficient: 0.34 kg/m2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03, 0.65) and gained 0.15 kg/m2 in BMI over 4 years (95% CI: 0.03, 0.27), after adjustment for age, baseline BMI, lifestyle behavior, and medication. Conclusions: The longitudinal association between short sleep duration at baseline and relative increase in BMI was significant in Japanese male workers over a 4-year interval.
Background: Cigarette smoking is an important, aggravating factor in metabolic syndrome (MetS). In addition, some studies have reported that MetS is related to alcohol consumption irrespective of the amount consumed. However, the relationship of the combination of the 2 habits to MetS has not been fully described. Methods: In this cross-sectional survey, a questionnaire was used to collect information on cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption from 3904 Japanese men aged 20 years or older. MetS was defined according to Japanese criteria. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyze relationships of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption with MetS, after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Results: Among the subjects, 581 (14.9%) had MetS. Daily cigarette and alcohol consumption were significantly associated with the prevalence of MetS (P < 0.0001, P = 0.030 for trend). The multivariate-adjusted odds ratio for the prevalence of MetS was 1.89 (95% confidence interval: 1.34–2.65) for subjects who smoked ≥30 cigarettes/day, as compared with nonsmokers; 1.54 (1.06–2.23) for those who consumed ≥69 grams of ethanol/day, as compared with nondrinkers; and 3.63 (1.91–6.90) for those who smoked ≥30 cigarettes/day and consumed ≥69 grams of ethanol/day, as compared with those who neither smoked nor drank. The interaction of smoking ≥30 cigarettes/day with drinking ≥69 grams/day was 2.03 (1.02–4.01, P = 0.043). Conclusions: Cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking had independent relations to the prevalence of MetS. In addition, the prevalence of MetS was higher among Japanese men who smoked and drank heavily.
Background: To clarify the effect of age on the association between body mass index (BMI) and all-cause mortality. Methods: We followed 43 972 Japanese participants aged 40 to 79 years for 12 years. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs), using the following BMI categories: <18.5 (underweight), 18.5–20.9, 21.0–22.9, 23.0–24.9 (reference), 25.0–27.4, 27.5–29.9, and ≥30.0 kg/m2 (obese). Analyses were stratified by age group: middle-aged (40–64 years) vs elderly (65–79 years). Results: We observed a significantly increased risk of mortality in underweight elderly men: the multivariate HR was 1.26 (0.92–1.73) in middle-aged men and 1.49 (1.26–1.76) in elderly men. In addition, we observed a significantly increased risk of mortality in obese middle-aged men: the multivariate HR was 1.71 (1.17–2.50) in middle-aged men and 1.25 (0.87–1.80) in elderly men. In women, there was an increased risk of mortality irrespective of age group in the underweight: the multivariate HR was 1.46 (0.96–2.22) in middle-aged women and 1.47 (1.19–1.82) in elderly women. There was no excess risk of mortality with age in obese women: the multivariate HR was 1.47 (0.94–2.27) in middle-aged women and 1.26 (0.95–1.68) in elderly women. Conclusions: As compared with the reference category, obesity was associated with a high mortality risk in middle-aged men, whereas underweight, rather than obesity, was associated with a high mortality risk in elderly men. In women, obesity was associated with a high mortality risk during middle age; underweight was associated with a high mortality risk irrespective of age. The mortality risk due to underweight and obesity may be related to sex and age.
Background: Although the prevalences of obesity and hypertension (HT) are increasing in children, there have been few epidemiological studies of HT in Japanese children. We evaluated the prevalences of HT and high-normal blood pressure (HNBP), and examined the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI), in Japanese children. Methods: The subjects of this study were 2420 children living in the town of Ina, Saitama Prefecture, Japan during the period from 2006 through 2008. Body height, weight, and BP were measured. HT and HNBP were defined according to the HT criteria for Japanese children. Children with HNBP or HT were defined as having high blood pressure (HBP). Results: The prevalences of HBP were 15.9% and 15.8% in fourth-grade boys and girls, respectively, and 11.1% and 10.8% in seventh-grade boys and girls, respectively. Irrespective of sex or grade level, a higher BMI was associated with a higher prevalence of HBP (P < 0.001). When compared with the <50th percentile BMI category, the crude odds ratios (ORs) were statistically significant for the 75th to 84th percentile category in fourth-grade boys (OR: 4.54, 95% CI: 2.36–8.76), the ≥95th percentile in fourth-grade girls (13.29, 5.93–29.77), the 85th to 94th percentile (3.16, 1.46–6.84) in seventh-grade boys, and the ≥95th percentile (7.96, 3.18–19.93) in seventh-grade girls. Conclusions: BMI was associated with HBP in Japanese school children. In addition, some children in the lower BMI categories also had HBP.
Background: Health insurance claims (ie, receipts) record patient health care treatments and expenses and, although created for the health care payment system, are potentially useful for research. Combining different types of receipts generated for the same patient would dramatically increase the utility of these receipts. However, technical problems, including standardization of disease names and classifications, and anonymous linkage of individual receipts, must be addressed. Methods: In collaboration with health insurance societies, all information from receipts (inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy) was collected. To standardize disease names and classifications, we developed a computer-aided post-entry standardization method using a disease name dictionary based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 classifications. We also developed an anonymous linkage system by using an encryption code generated from a combination of hash values and stream ciphers. Using different sets of the original data (data set 1: insurance certificate number, name, and sex; data set 2: insurance certificate number, date of birth, and relationship status), we compared the percentage of successful record matches obtained by using data set 1 to generate key codes with the percentage obtained when both data sets were used. Results: The dictionary’s automatic conversion of disease names successfully standardized 98.1% of approximately 2 million new receipts entered into the database. The percentage of anonymous matches was higher for the combined data sets (98.0%) than for data set 1 (88.5%). Conclusions: The use of standardized disease classifications and anonymous record linkage substantially contributed to the construction of a large, chronologically organized database of receipts. This database is expected to aid in epidemiologic and health services research using receipt information.
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