Posted on Dec 01, 2009, 6 a.m.
Swedish researchers find that women who store fat on their waist in middle age are more than twice as likely to develop memory and cognitive problems when they get older.
In that excess fat around the middle raises one’s risk of premature death due to heart attack or stroke, Deborah Gustafson, from Sahlgrenska Academy (Sweden), and colleagues studied subjects enrolled in the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, which began in the late 1960s with approximately 1,500 women, ages 38 to 60 years. At a follow-up 32 years later, 161 women developed dementia, with the average age of diagnosis being 75 years. The researchers found that those women who were broader around the waist than the hips in middle age ran slightly more than twice the risk of developing dementia when they got older. The team concludes that: “Among survivors to age 70, high midlife waist-to-hip ratio may increase odds of dementia. Changing anthropometric parameters in years preceding dementia onset indicate the dynamic nature of this seemingly simple relationship.”
D. R. Gustafson, K. Bäckman, M. Waern, S. Östling, X. Guo, P. Zandi, M. M. Mielke, C. Bengtsson, I. Skoog. “Adiposity indicators and dementia over 32 years in Sweden.” Neurology, Nov 2009; 73: 1559 - 1566.