TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Weight gain and weight loss in older adults are both associated with an increased risk for dementia, according to a study published online May 20 in BMJ Open.

Susan Park, from the College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea, and colleagues examined the correlation between body mass index (BMI) changes during a two-year period and dementia. Data were included for 67,219 participants aged 60 to 79 years who underwent BMI measurement in 2002 to 2003 and 2004 to 2005. The incidence of dementia was monitored for a mean of 5.3 years from 2008 to 2013.

The researchers found that in both sexes, there was a significant correlation between late-life BMI changes and dementia (men: > −10 percent: hazard ratio, 1.26; > +10 percent: hazard ratio, 1.25; women: > −10 percent: hazard ratio, 1.15; > +10 percent: hazard ratio, 1.17). Except for underweight men, baseline BMI was not associated with dementia. For men with a BMI of <25 kg/m² and women with a BMI of 18.5 to 25 kg/m², BMI increase over two years was associated with dementia. In those with a BMI of ≥18.5 kg/m², BMI decrease was associated with dementia, but no correlation was seen for those in the underweight subgroup in either sex.

“Our results suggest that continuous weight control, disease management, and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle are beneficial in the prevention of dementia, even in later life,” the authors write.

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