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Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Aug;33(8):893-8. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.104. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Overweight in midlife and risk of dementia: a 40-year follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.



This study examines whether overweight in midlife increases dementia risk later in life.


In 1963 body mass index was assessed in 1152 participants of The Swedish Twin Registry, at the age of 45-65 years. These participants were later screened for dementia in a prospective study with up to 40 years follow-up. A total of 312 participants were diagnosed with dementia.


Logistic regression analyses adjusted for demographic factors, smoking and alcohol habits, indicated that men and women categorized as overweight in their midlife had an elevated risk of dementia (OR=1.59; 95% CI: 1.21-2.07, P=0.002), Alzheimer's disease (OR=1.71; 95% CI: 1.24-2.35, P=0.003), and vascular dementia (OR=1.55; 95% CI: 0.98-2.47, P=0.059). Further adjustments for diabetes and vascular diseases did not substantially affect the associations, except for vascular dementia (OR=1.36; 95% CI: 0.82-2.56, P=0.116), reflecting the significance of diabetes and vascular diseases in the etiology of vascular dementia. There was no significant interaction between overweight and APOE epsilon4 status, indicating that having both risk factors does not have a multiplicative effect with regard to dementia risk.


This study gives further support to the notion that overweight in midlife increases later risk of dementia. The risk is increased for both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, and follows the same pattern for men and women.

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