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Obesity in Thirties Linked to High Risk of Dementia

Aug 21, 2014 04:41 AM EDT
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Being obese in the thirties is associated with higher dementia risk in old age, a new study suggests.

Previous research has shown that obesity might increase dementia risk. However, the latest study from the Oxford University shows that the age at which a person develops obesity is linked to higher or lower dementia risk.

Obesity rates have increased around the world in the past few decades. Health experts say that mid-life obesity rates are ticking time bombs that will increase the risk of several health complications. An estimated 66 million people around the globe will have dementia by 2030 and the numbers will reach 115 million by 2050.

For the study, the researchers analyzed medical records of more than 450,000 people who visited hospitals between 1999 and 2011. Around 43 percent of the study group were men, according to a news release.

The researchers found that people who were obese in their thirties were around three times more likely to develop dementia during old age than their leaner peers.

"These results support existing evidence that obesity in mid-life increases the risk of developing dementia. The finding that people who are obese in their thirties are three times more likely to get dementia is striking, but it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from a study where only 19 of the 451,232 people observed were obese in their thirties and went on to develop dementia," said Dr Clare Walton, Research Communications Manager at the Alzheimer's Society, according to a news release.

The study found no additional risk of dementia if the participants were obese at the age of 70 years or above, The Independent reports.

The study is published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

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