BMI associated risk of dementia


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    23 December 2022

Middle-aged individuals, who first show a rise in body weight in early mid-life and then a decline in weight are at greater risk of dementia, suggests a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.1


This study enrolled 2045 participants, mean age of 40.5 years, from the Framingham Offspring Study with the aim to study the association between dementia and the body weight pattern from mid- to late life. None of them had dementia at the start of the study. The participants were followed-up for a period of 39 years, from 1979 to 2018. Their weight was measured every 4 years on an average.


Out of the 2045 study subjects, 76 developed dementia over the duration of the study. The risk of dementia increased in late life with decline in BMI. Of note, participants who first showed a rising trend of BMI in early mid-life followed by a decreasing trend in later mid-life were thrice more likely to develop dementia compared to those in whom the BMI did not reduce with hazard ratio (HR) of 3.84. Neither a stable weight pattern or a consistent reduction in BMI were associated with enhanced dementia risk.


This study has identified a BMI pattern – early mid-life rise and then decline in later mid-life - that is indicative of higher risk of dementia. Individuals who show this pattern are at risk. Leading a healthy lifestyle incorporating healthy diet and physical activity in early mid-life may help ward off future dementia.



  1. Li J, et al. BMI decline patterns and relation to dementia risk across four decades of follow-up in the Framingham Study. Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Dec 15. doi: 10.1002/alz.12839.

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