Thursday, May 5, 2011

Extra Pounds at Midlife May Boost Dementia Risk Later: MedlinePlus

Being overweight during middle age may increase your risk of developing dementia later on, a new Swedish study suggests.

Several studies have already linked obesity in middle age to dementia in later life, but it was unclear whether merely carrying some extra pounds in midlife was a risk factor. The new research suggests that even being overweight -- defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30 -- is linked with a higher risk of dementia.

"Being overweight at midlife increased the risk of dementia in late life by more than 70 percent," said lead study author Dr. Weili Xu, a postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Being obese raised the risk even more, to nearly fourfold.

"Although the effect of midlife overweight on dementia is not as substantial as that of obesity, its impact on public health is significant," Xu said, noting that 1.6 billion adults worldwide are obese or overweight, including 50 percent of adults in the United States and Europe.

The study is published in the May 3 issue of Neurology.

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