Obesity During Midlife Ups Dementia Risk

Study found those with BMI higher than 30 also more likely to have heart attack, diabetes

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TUESDAY, Oct. 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- People who are obese in midlife face a greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease when they're older, a new Swedish study says.

The study of 1,449 people aged 65 to 79, who were tracked for an average of 21 years, found that dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) were much more common among those who had a body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) higher than 30 at midlife.

People with the highest midlife BMI were also more likely to have a history of heart attack and diabetes. The study concluded that midlife obesity, high systolic blood pressure (SBP), and high total cholesterol level were all significant risk factors for dementia later in life.

"This study shows that obesity at midlife may increase the risk of dementia and AD later in life," the study authors wrote. They also said that, "midlife obesity, high SBP, and high total cholesterol level were all significant risk factors for dementia, each of them increasing the risk around two times. Clustering of these vascular risk factors increased the risk of dementia and AD in an additive manner, so that persons with all three risk factors had around a six times higher risk for dementia than persons having no risk factors."

The report appears in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about dementia.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Oct. 10, 2005

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