Over weight people, please take note. Researchers have found that obesity in midlife is linked to a greater risk of dementia later in life poor diet and lack of exercise are not.
“Some previous studies have indicated poor diet or a lack of exercise may increase an individual’s risk of dementia, however, our study found these variables aren’t connected to the long-term risk of dementia,” said said study author Sarah Floud in the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. “Short-term relationships between these variables and dementia risk are likely to reflect changes in behaviour, such as eating poorly and being inactive, as a result of early symptoms of dementia,” Floud said.
The analysis, published in the journal Neurolog, included one of every four women born in nearly 1,137,000 women, or the United Kingdom between 1935 to 1950. They didn’t have dementia at the onset of the study and had a mean age of 56.
Participants were asked about their height, weight, diet and exercise at the beginning of the study. For the study, Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20 and 25 was considered desirable, and a BMI of 30 or higher was considered obese.
Were considered inactive. Those who exercised were considered active. The reported usual diet of women has been used to calculate their calorie consumption.
Researchers followed the women. After 15 years from the beginning of the study, 18,695 girls were diagnosed with dementia. Researchers adjusted for age, smoking, education and many other elements.
They found that women who were overweight at the beginning of the study had, at the long term, a 21-per cent greater risk of dementia compared to women with a desirable BMI. Among the obese women, 2.1 percent, or 3,948 of 177,991 women, were diagnosed with dementia. This is compared to 1.6 per cent of girls with desirable BMI, or 7,248 of 434,923 women, who have been diagnosed with the disease.
While calorie intake and inactivity were correlated during the first ten decades of this study, these institutions weakened considerably, and after 15 years, neither was linked to dementia risk. “The short term links between dementia, inactivity and low calorie intake will probably be the consequence of the first signs of the disease, before symptoms start to show,” Floud said.
Obesity is a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease. The limitation of the study was that girls were looked at by it only, so the results might not be the same for men.