Weight gain following a stroke in men and women under 70: challenges and opportunities for prevention and action

150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in developed countries and are the leading cause of long term disability. Approximately a quarter of strokes occur in people under 65 years.  The wider costs of a stroke are approximately £7 billion per year, with £2.8 billion of these costs picked up by the NHS. 

The numbers of strokes are higher in obese people with high blood pressure or diabetes. Guidelines advise weight reduction following a stroke. Poor lifestyle behaviours prior to a stroke may worsen long term outcomes and impact on rehabilitation. Therefore modification of health behaviour can be crucial in stroke rehabilitation and in preventing avoidable long term problems. Stroke rehabilitation is acknowledged as being crucial to maximising quality of life, independence, and good well-being for individuals and their carers following a stroke.

This exploratory study aims to explore the rehabilitation and weight management experiences of stroke survivors under 70 years of age in the South Yorkshire area. This will try and identify whether weight gain is a problem for some people following a stroke, and if so what factors contribute to weight gain. It will also explore what potential services could prevent weight gain and would be accessible to people after a stroke. 

The study will survey (n=212) and interview (n=20 max) participants recruited through the South Yorkshire Cohort who have reported to be overweight (BMI>25), be 70 years or younger and have had a stroke.  Staff working for or with, local stroke services will be interviewed (n=15), and, host two consultation event with (n=up to 50) people working in key roles and organisations to test out the findings.  Data will be analysed using the Framework Analysis method.  Findings will be used to inform the development of a larger study, raise awareness of the additional needs of patients and make recommendations for the appropriate ways of giving behaviour change advice to patients following a stroke. 

The study is being funded through CLAHRC SY. Development of the study is by researchers in the  Obesity Coproduction work stream in consultation with the stroke theme.

For further information please contact:

Catherine Homer,
 Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Sheffield Hallam University 
Tel: 0114 2255815
Email: c.homer@shu.ac.uk