Obesity Linked to Higher Risk of Dementiaadmin
A new study from University College London has found that obesity is associated with a higher risk of dementia up to 15 years later, “suggesting that weight management could play a significant role in reducing risk,” according to a statement from UCL.
“These findings provide new evidence that obesity may have important implications in terms of dementia risk,” Dr. Dorina Cadar of UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care said about the study that was recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. “Both BMI and waist circumference status should be monitored to avoid metabolic dysregulations. Hence, reducing weight to optimal levels is recommended by adopting healthy and balanced patterns of eating, such as the Mediterranean diet, appropriate physical exercise and reduced alcohol consumption throughout the course of the entire adult life span.”
For this study, the team collected data from 6,582 people in a nationally representative sample of the English population aged 50 years and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Three different sources were used to ascertain dementia: doctor diagnosis, informant reports and hospital episode statistics. They found that individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher at the state of the study had a 31% greater risk of dementia than those with BMIs from 18.5-24.9. The researchers also found a significant gender difference in the risk of dementia associated with obesity. Women with abdominal obesity had a 39% increased risk of dementia compared to those with a normal level.
“It is possible that the association between obesity and dementia might be potentially mediated by other conditions, such as hypertension or anticholinergic treatments,” first author of the study Yuxian Ma said. “While not explored in this study, the research question of whether there is an interactive effect between obesity and other midlife risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes and APOE ε4 carrier status, in relation to dementia will be investigated in upcoming work.”
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, with support from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Office for National Statistics and the National Institute for Health Research.