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Trans Fats May Raise Stroke Risk in Older Women
Date:3/1/2012

was published in the Feb. 24 issue of the Annals of Neurology, researchers analyzed data from the national project known as the Women's Health Initiative. They looked at the trans-fat intake of more than 87,000 women aged 50 to 79 using a dietary database developed at the University of Minnesota and questionnaires that measured trans-fat consumption.

Participants were asked how much of 122 foods they ate in the three months before the study, with follow-up surveys taken three years later. Medical histories were updated annually between 1998 and 2005, and 1,049 strokes were documented during that time.

No association was found between eating other types of fat and ischemic stroke, by far the most common type of stroke in the United States, He said.

Trans fats contribute to cardiovascular disease -- one of the risk factors for stroke -- by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol, and may have the worst impact on health of all fats, He said.

Trans fats are rare in nature, but "can commonly occur in foods as a result of food processing when a liquid vegetable oil is turned into a solid fat," explained Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.

"It is interesting to note that the women who consumed the most trans fat also had other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as decreased physical activity, increased energy intake and smoking," said Copperman, adding that they also had a higher incidence of diabetes.

Encouraging women to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle can be "a major step in preventing stroke and other lifestyle-related diseases," she said.

Public-policy legislation limiting trans fats in food has reduced their availability, she added. Some metropolitan areas, including New York City, have banned trans fats in foods served in restaurants.

Another expert noted that the study "is really telli
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