Obesity and diabetes are jointly associated with functional disability in stroke survivors

Ryan R. Bailey, Monica C. Serra, Ryan P. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Stroke is the most common cause of complex disability. Obesity and diabetes increase risk for functional disability in the general population, but their contribution to functional disability in stroke survivors is unknown. Objective: To investigate the joint association of obesity and diabetes with functional disability in stroke survivors. Methods: Cross-sectional data from 34,376 stroke survivors from the 2015 and 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys were examined. Weighted and age-adjusted prevalence estimates and adjusted odds ratios (AOR, adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to compare prevalence and odds for self-reported functional disability, stratified by obesity-diabetes status (i.e., neither condition, obesity only, diabetes only, both conditions). Results: Prevalence of functional disability increased across obesity-diabetes categories in the total sample: neither condition (45.4%, 95% CI: 43.4%–47.4%), obesity only (55.3%, 95% CI: 52.7%–58.0%), diabetes only (60.8%, 95% CI: 57.5%–64.1%), and both conditions (70.3%, 95% CI: 67.7%–72.9%). Compared to respondents with neither condition, those with both obesity and diabetes had 2.62 (95% CI: 2.23–3.08) higher odds for functional disability; odds were also increased for respondents with obesity only (1.52, 95% CI: 1.32–1.76) and diabetes only (1.71, CI: 1.45–2.01). Conclusions: Our findings indicated a joint effect of obesity and diabetes on functional disability that exceeded either condition alone, placing stroke survivors with both health conditions at greatest risk for diminished functional capacity. Recognizing obesity and diabetes as modifiable risk factors may be useful for identifying stroke sub-populations that could benefit from lifestyle intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100914
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Disability
  • Disease management
  • Obesity
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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