Further evidence that obesity in middle age increases dementia risk

Obesity as young as 30 could have negative effect, study says

Health Correspondent

Scientists have uncovered further evidence that being obese in middle age raises your risk of developing dementia later in life, with the latest study suggesting that people as young as 30 who are obese may be at greater risk.

Exactly how obesity might lead to dementia is unclear, but many studies have now shown a link. Experts have warned that soaring levels of obesity represent a dementia “time-bomb” as the current generation of middle-aged people, who have the highest levels of obesity in history, grow old.

In new findings, Oxford University researchers have found evidence that the earlier in middle age people become obese, the more likely they are to suffer from dementia later. The study, which looked at records from 1999 to 2011 of more than 450,000 people admitted to hospital with obesity, found that those between 30 and 70 years old were all more likely to go on to have dementia than non-obese people of the same age. The study was however limited, as it only followed up patients for 12 years.

Strikingly, the study showed that people admitted to hospital with obesity in their 30s were more than three times more likely to develop dementia. However, there were only 19 people in the study who fit this pattern, so the finding may not be entirely reliable.

Overall, though, there was a clear increased risk of dementia for people who became obese between the ages of 40 and 70. Obese people in their 40s were 70 per cent more likely to develop dementia, those in their 50s were 50 per cent more likely and those in their 60s were 40 per cent more likely, the study, published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, suggested.

Interestingly, obese people in their 70s appeared to have no increased risk of dementia.

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that obesity could lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which could also influence dementia risk.

“There is an increasing body of evidence that lifestyle factors are linked to dementia risk,” he said. “As well as maintaining a healthy weight, research suggests that keeping blood pressure in check, not smoking and regular exercise throughout life are good ways to keep the brain healthy.”

Dr Clare Walton, research communications manager for the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the growing evidence on bodyweight’s midlife link to dementia meant it was “never too early” to start changing lifestyle to reduce risk.

“We know what is good for your heart, is good for your head,” she said

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

    £125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore