More children and young adults in the US are having strokes - with unhealthy lifestyles being a likely cause, scientists have said. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysed hospital data on up to eight million patients a year between 1995 and 2008. In Annals of Neurology, they say stroke rates in five to 44-year-olds rose by about a third in under 10 years. The rate of ischemic stroke increased by 31% in five to 14-year-olds, from 3.2 strokes per 10,000 hospital cases to 4.2 per 10,000. There were increases of 30% for people aged 15 to 34 and 37% in patients between the ages of 35 and 44. In all age groups the increase was greater in men than in women. Figures for haemorrhagic stroke showed decreases in age groups except the five to 14-year-olds, but the researchers said: "The increase in ischemic stroke far outweighs the decreases." The report said the prevalence of hypertension, obesity and tobacco use had increased in stroke patients. "We know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, along with other factors such as obesity, diabetes, poor diet and smoking. "This research emphasises the need for people to be aware that stroke can affect younger people, and for all of us, regardless of our age, to check our blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle."