A study done at California has suggested that obesity
in middle age increases the risk of developing
dementia in the future. Dementia is a progressive
brain dysfunction that occurs most commonly late in
life. Dementia leads to a gradually increasing
restriction of daily activities.
The 27 year longitudinal study that was done by a
healthcare organization in California analyzed
prospective data from a population of around 10276
males and females. The participants who underwent
multiphasic health checks between 1964 and 1973 during
which they were interviewed, subjected to a clinical
examination and a blood sample was collected from
them. Height was measured as also the weight and
people were categorized according to Body Mass Index.
Subscapular and triceps skin fold thickness was also
measured using special calipers. Medical records
during the period 1994-2003 were screened for
diagnosis of dementia and other diseases.
The study revealed that obese individuals had a 74%
more risk of dementia as compared to those who had
normal weight. Overweight people had 35% greater risk
of developing dementia. Body Mass Index equal to or
more than 30 was considered obese, while BMI in the
range 25.0-29.9 was considered overweight. Individuals
with a greater distribution of subscapular or triceps
skin fold thickness had more risk of dementia.
The authors attributed the possible link of middle age
obesity to dementia to the fact that adiposity either
directly or through predisposition to cardiovascular
disease and diabetes can increase the risk of
dementia. Obesity has already been linked to various
other diseases. One more disease now joins the fray.