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Being overweight in midlife is associated with lower cognitive ability and steeper cognitive decline in late life
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Ageing - living conditions and health.
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Ageing - living conditions and health.
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2010 (English)In: The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, ISSN 1079-5006, Vol. 65A, no 1, 57-62 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Although an increasing body of evidence links being overweight in midlife with an increased risk for dementia in late life, no studies have examined the association between being overweight in midlife and cognitive ability in late life. Our aim was to examine the association between being overweight in midlife as measured by body mass index (BMI) and cognitive ability assessed over time. METHODS: Participants in the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study Aging were derived from a population-based sample. The participants completed baseline surveys in 1963 or 1973 (mean age 41.6 years, range 25-63 years). The surveys included questions about height, weight, diseases, and lifestyle factors. Beginning in 1986, the same individuals were assessed on neuropsychological tests every 3 years (except in 1995) until 2002. During the study period, 781 individuals who were 50 years and older (60% women) had at least one complete neuropsychological assessment. A composite score of general cognitive ability was derived from the cognitive test battery for each measurement occasion. RESULTS: Latent growth curve models adjusted for twinness showed that persons with higher midlife BMI scores had significantly lower general cognitive ability and significantly steeper longitudinal decline than their thinner counterparts. The association did not change substantially when persons who developed dementia during the study period were excluded from the analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Higher midlife BMI scores precede lower general cognitive ability and steeper cognitive decline in both men and women. The association does not seem to be mediated by an increased risk for dementia

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 65A, no 1, 57-62 p.
Keyword [en]
cognition, old age, body mass index, epidemiology
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-8571DOI: 10.1093/Gerona/glp035OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-8571DiVA: diva2:212387
Available from: 2009-04-22 Created: 2009-04-22 Last updated: 2010-01-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Body mass index, cognitive ability, and dementia: prospective associations and methodological issues in late life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Body mass index, cognitive ability, and dementia: prospective associations and methodological issues in late life
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of the present study were to investigate the association between overweight and cognitive ability and dementia, and to evaluate the usefulness of self-reported body mass index (BMI) in late life and various data sources commonly used in epidemiological studies to identify persons with dementia. Data were drawn from three population-based studies: the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA), Aging in Women and Men: A Longitudinal Study of Gender Differences in Health Behaviour and Health among Elderly (the Gender Study), and the Finnish Lieto Study. In Study I, the agreement between self-reported and measured BMI over time was evaluated among 774 men and women, ages 40 to 88 years at baseline (mean age 63.9) participating in both the questionnaire phase and in-person testing of SATSA. Latent growth curve (LGC) modeling showed a small but significant increase between self-reported and measured BMI (0.02 kg/m2/y) over time, which would probably not affect the results if self-reported BMI were used as a continuous variable in longitudinal research. In Study II, the agreement between dementia diagnoses from various sources and dementia diagnoses set at a consensus conference was evaluated. Among the 498 elderly people ages 70 to 81 at baseline (mean age 74.5) enrolled in the Gender Study, 87 were diagnosed with dementia during an eight-year period. Review of medical records and nurse evaluations yielded the highest sensitivity (0.83 and 0.80, respectively) and a high specificity (0.98 and 0.96), indicating that these sources might be good proxies of dementia, while data extraction from the Swedish Inpatient Discharge Registry underestimated the prevalence of dementia (sensitivity 0.26). In Study III, the association between being overweight in midlife and cognitive ability in late life was examined in SATSA. The 781 participants ages 25 to 63 at baseline (mean age 41.6) in 1963 or 1973 self-reported their height and weight. From 1986 until 2002, they were assessed five times using a cognitive test battery. LGC models showed that people with higher midlife BMI scores had significantly lower cognitive ability and a significantly steeper decline than their thinner counterparts, an association that persisted when those who developed dementia during the study period were excluded from the analysis. This finding indicates that being overweight might affect cognitive ability independently of dementia. In Study IV, the association between BMI and dementia risk in older persons was described among 605 persons without dementia and ages 65 to 92 at baseline (mean age 70.8) in the Lieto Study. Among these, 86 persons were diagnosed with dementia during eight years of follow-up. Cox regression analyses indicated that for each unit increase in BMI score, the risk of dementia decreased 8% (hazard ratio = 0.92, 95% confidence interval = 0.87–0.97) and the association remained significant when individuals who developed dementia during the first four years of follow-up were excluded from the analyses. This result suggests that low BMI scores are present almost a decade before clinical dementia onset.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Intellecta infolog, 2009. 92 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 7
Keyword
aging, body mass index, cognition, dementia, epidemiology, longitudinal, population-based, prospective
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-10283 (URN)978-91-85835-06-5 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
Forum Humanum, Hälsohögskolan, Barnarpsgatan 39, Jönköping (Swedish)
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Available from: 2009-09-04 Created: 2009-09-03 Last updated: 2016-09-12Bibliographically approved

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