HealthDay News — Having increased body weight or abdominal obesity is associated with increased incidence of dementia, according to a study published online June 23 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Yixuan Ma, from University College London, and colleagues examined the correlation between increased body weight or central obesity and the risk of developing dementia during a mean follow-up period of 11 years among 6,582 participants from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, aged ≥50 years.

The researchers found that during the follow-up period of a maximum 15 years (2002 to 2017), 6.9 percent of participants developed dementia. Participants who were obese at baseline had an elevated risk of dementia incidence compared with those who were normal weight (hazard ratio, 1.34), independent of sex, baseline age, apolipoprotein E-ε4, education, physical activity, smoking, and marital status. After controlling for hypertension and diabetes, the relationship was slightly mediated (hazard ratio, 1.31). Compared with noncentral obese women, those with central obesity had increased risk of dementia (hazard ratio, 1.39). The obese and high waist circumference (WC) group had increased dementia risk compared with those with a normal body mass index and WC (hazard ratio, 1.28).

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“Given the ongoing increase in obesity levels around the world, these findings have important implications in terms of designing appropriate interventions for preventing and managing contributing factors to obesity and associated consequences, including dementia onset,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text