A healthy lifestyle is important if people want to reduce their risk of needing stroke rehabilitation, scientists have said.
Researchers at the Universities of East Anglia and Cambridge found that an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption lead to a 2.3-fold increased risk of stroke.
The findings are significant as stroke is the third leading killer in the UK and affects around 150,000 people every year, leaving many people with severe disabilities.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers revealed: "We observed a relation between four health behaviours and arguably the most clinically important strokes - those that resulted in death or hospital admission.
"These results provide further incentive and support for the notion that small differences in lifestyle can have a substantial potential impact on risk."
Joanne Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Stroke Association, confirmed that small changes to lifestyle "can reduce your risk of stroke".