Obesity-Dementia Link Affected By Age

(HealthDay News) — Obesity’s link to subsequent dementia varies with the age at which obesity is first recorded, according to a study published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Clare J. Wotton and Michael J. Goldacre, BM, BCh, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues utilized national administrative statistical data on hospital care and mortality in England from 1999 to 2011 to identify 451,232 people with obesity and a cohort of control participants.

“Obesity in mid-life may increase the risk of subsequent dementia. Our objective was to study this risk, focusing on differences by age at the time of recording of obesity, in a large defined population,” they wrote.

Dementia risk significantly increased in obese people aged 30 to 39 years admitted to the hospital (risk ratio [RR]=3.5). Dementia risk gradually decreased with increasing age at obesity, from 1.7 in people aged 40 to 49 years when obesity was first recorded to 1.4 in those for whom obesity was first recorded at 60 to 69 years.

Subsequent dementia risk was not increased or reduced for people whose obesity was first recorded in their 70s (RR=0.97; 95% CI, 0.93-1.01). In patients in their 80s, subsequent dementia risk was reduced (RR=0.78; 95% CI, 0.74-0.82).

“While obesity at a younger age is associated with an increased risk of future dementia, obesity in people who have lived to about 60 to 80 years of age seems to be associated with a reduced risk,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Wotton CJ et al. Postgrad Med J. 2014;doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2014-132571.