University of Oxford researchers have found that the risk of dementia in older people increases depending on how early they were obese in their middle age.
The researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 450,000 people who were admitted to hospital due to obesity between 1999 and 2011. The researchers found that people between 30 and 70 years of age were more likely to be diagnosed with dementia in their older age compared to those who were not obese, with the risk three times higher among people in their 30s who were obese compared to older participants.
The researchers admitted that the study was limited as it followed the patients for just 12 years while only 19 people who were in their 30s and obese were found. The study has been published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.
Stating that obesity can have a compounding effect in increasing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's, the director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK Dr Eric Karran said, "There is an increasing body of evidence that lifestyle factors are linked to dementia risk. 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."