Overweight in Midlife Is Related to Lower Cognitive Function 30 Years Later: A Prospective Study with Longitudinal Assessments

Linda B. Hassing, Anna K. Dahl, Nancy L. Pedersen, Boo Johansson
2010 Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders  
Aim: To examine if the body mass index (BMI) in midlife is related to cognitive function 30 years later in a dementiafree sample. Methods: BMI was reported in 1963 at age 50-60 years, and cognitive abilities were examined 30 years later in a longitudinal design with 5 measurement occasions at 2-year intervals (n = 417). The cognitive abilities examined included tests of long-term memory, short-term memory, speed, verbal and spatial ability. Results: Multilevel modeling adjusting for demographic
more » ... and lifestyle factors, and relevant diseases showed that a higher BMI in midlife predicted lower test performance 30 years later. Significant associations between BMI and level of performance were found in all cognitive abilities; however, a higher midlife BMI was not associated with steeper cognitive decline. Conclusion: Our results indicate that midlife overweight is related to lower overall cognitive function in old age. The fact that BMI-related effects were noted in mean-level cognitive performance, whereas only one ability showed differences in slopes, suggests that the negative effect of overweight has an onset before the entry into very old age.
doi:10.1159/000314874 pmid:20606436 pmcid:PMC3202952 fatcat:3q4y6xf4qjh33krvxvrl2kzqqa