New research has revealed alarming statistics of the increasing rates of strokes in children, teens, and young adults in the United States.

Investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the increase in hospitalizations among people aged 15 to 44 for ischemic stroke. This occurs when a clot, or fatty a build up of fatty deposits called plaque blocks a blood vessel supplying the brain.

Dr. Mary G. George, and colleagues from the CDC looked at national hospital discharge data from 42 states. For their research they focused on three age groups: 5 to 14, 15 to 34, and 35 to 44.

The researchers then compared the rate of stroke among these groups from 1995 to 1996 to 2007 to 2008

Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke among those 5 to 14 increased 31 per cent between 1995 and 2008. The rate increased from 3.2 hospitalizations per 10,000 to 4.2 hospitalizations per 10,000.

As for those aged 15 to 34, hospitalizations increased 30 per cent from 5.0 hospitalizations per 10,000 to 6.5 per 10,000, researchers found.

In the young adults and adolescents, we were surprised to see that large of an increase, George adds.

George tells WebMD that researchers found significant increases in high blood pressure, lipid [cholesterol] disorders, diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity, things that sre considered traditional risk factors.

Urgent public health initiatives are needed to reverse the rising trends in modifiable risk factors and unhealthy behaviours associated with stroke in adolescents and young adults,  George says.

The study is published in the Annals of Neurology