Tags: Study: | Midlife | Obesity | Boosts | Alzheimer's | Risk

Study: Midlife Obesity Boosts Alzheimer's Risk

Friday, 07 April 2006 12:00 AM

Being overweight in your 40s may well increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease decades later, new research shows.

Dr. Rachel Whitmer and her colleagues from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Research Institute studied over 20 years of health data on nearly 9000 men and women who were all in their early 40s when the study started.

During an average follow-up period of 23 years, 221 cases of Alzheimer's disease were diagnosed.

After factoring in the effects of diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure, the researchers found that body fat levels were closely linked to the risk of Alzheimer's.

In fact, people with high levels of fat in the arm and back were nearly three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those with low levels.

The association was even stronger when taking into account body mass index (BMI), an overall measure of body weight in relation to height, the researcher added.

"We originally thought that once we took into account diabetes and cardiovascular disease, that there would be no effect of overweight on Alzheimer's disease, but that turned out not to be the case," Dr. Rachel A. Whitmer reported at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in San Diego.

"Doctors need to remind people that they need to think about weight in middle age," said Dr. Whitmer. "Losing excess weight and body fat in middle age is not just good for the heart, it's also good for the brain.

Dr. Whitmer and her team are now planning to evaluate whether weight loss reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

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Being overweight in your 40s may well increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease decades later, new research shows. Dr. Rachel Whitmer and her colleagues from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Research Institute studied over 20 years of health data on nearly 9000 men and...
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2006-00-07
Friday, 07 April 2006 12:00 AM
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