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J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;38(1):201-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130698.

Midlife and late-life body mass index and late-life dementia: results from a prospective population-based cohort.

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Department of Neurology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Kuopio, Finland.



Obesity has been consistently associated with dementia. The role of certain risk factors of dementia may change during life, and the importance of having a life-course perspective has been acknowledged.


The aim of this study was to investigate the association of midlife and late-life body mass index (BMI) with late-life dementia/Alzheimer's disease (AD) and whether the association was independent of other obesity-related co-morbidities.


The association between midlife BMI (mean age 50.2, SD 6.0) and late-life BMI (mean age 71.2, SD 4.0) and incident dementia later in life (mean age 75.7, SD 5.0) were investigated among 1,304 participants of the longitudinal population-based Cardiovascular risk factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study, conducted in Eastern Finland. The duration of follow-up was 26 years. The diagnosis of dementia was based on DSM-IV criteria and the probable and possible AD on the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria.


Higher midlife BMI was associated with higher risk of incident dementia (adjusted HR, 95% CI 1.07, 1.00-1.14). However, decrease in BMI from midlife to late-life was associated with higher risk of dementia (1.14, 1.03-1.25 for one-unit decrease) and AD (1.20, 1.09-1.33). High late-life BMI was associated with lower risk of AD (0.89, 0.81-0.98) but the association with dementia was less evident (0.94, 0.86-1.03).


Higher midlife BMI is related to higher risk of dementia and AD, independently of obesity-related risk factors and co-morbidities. Steeper decrease of BMI and low late-life BMI are associated with higher risk of dementia and AD. These findings highlight the importance of life-course perspective when assessing the association between BMI and cognition.


Alzheimer's disease; body mass index; dementia; obesity

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