Research in Sweden reveals link between mid-life obesity and dementia


Swedish scientists reveal link between mid-life obesity and late-life dementia

A study carried out on 8,500 twins in Sweden has revealed a link between being overweight in middle-age and late-life memory loss and confusion.

Previous research in this field has focused on the link between obesity and late-life dementia, but the latest findings reveal that even being just a little overweight in mid-life can increase the risk of developing dementia by 80%.

Exactly how weight can influence the degradation of the brain is not certain, but Weili Xu of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, who  led the research, said there could be many possible mechanisms. “Higher body fat is associated with diabetes and vascular diseases, which are related to dementia risk,” she said.

1.6 billion adults worldwide are currently overweight or obese, including 50% of adults in Europe and the US. 

The head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Simon Ridley, said: “This study adds to existing evidence that excess weight in middle age could increase our risk of developing dementia. It’s likely that dementia is caused by a complex mix of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. However, we still need to know much more about the causes of dementia if we are to find an effective treatment that it is so desperately needed”.

More information about the research can be found at: