Examining if being overweight really confers protection against dementia: Sixty-four year follow-up of participants in the Glasgow University alumni cohort study

George David Batty, Bruna Galobardes, John M Starr, Mona Jeffreys, George Davey Smith, Tom C Russ

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background

Recent large-scale studies suggest that obesity and overweight may confer protection against future dementia. This observation could, however, be generated by reverse causality. That is, weight loss in the incipient phase of dementia ascribed to diminished self-care, including sub-optimal nutrition, would have the effect of generating such an inverse association. One approach to circumventing this problem would be to measure weight in a population which is young enough to be free of the symptoms of dementia which is then followed up for dementia occurrence over many decades.

Methods

In a prospective cohort study, body mass index, and other potential risk factors, were measured in 9547 male university undergraduates (mean age 20.5 years) in 1948–68 who were then linked to national mortality registers.

Results

Of 2537 deaths over a mean of 50.6 years follow up, 140 were ascribed to dementia. There was no association between overweight and future dementia deaths (age-adjusted hazard ratio; 95 % confidence interval: 0.93; 0.49, 1.79).

Conclusion

In this cohort study of former university students, being overweight in youth did not confer protection against later dementia death.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Negative Results in Biomedicine
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • overweight
  • dementia
  • risk factors
  • epidemiology
  • cohort
  • life course

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