The authors also found that a higher BMI at mid-life may be associated with a greater amount of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. Specifically, higher mid-life BMI was associated with increased levels of tau tangles – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s – even among people who did not develop the disease.
This study adds to the body of scientific evidence linking mid-life obesity and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in later life. And, it complements the growing scientific consensusthat managing cardiovascular risk factors – such as obesity – can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and possibly dementia.
The Public Health Road Map, a guide for public health officials to promote cognitive health – which was jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Aging Program and the Alzheimer’s Association – encourages integrating brain health messages into existing prevention and awareness campaigns. Since many cardiovascular risk factors – including obesity – are modifiable, incorporating cognition concerns into existing obesity prevention and control campaigns and/or heart health efforts may not only improve cardiovascular outcomes but also future cognitive decline.
Learn more in our Alzheimer’s & Public Health Spotlight.