NEW YORK: Being overweight at the age of 50 may speed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in old age, said a study Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
A statistical comparison showed that every extra unit in body mass index (BMI, a height-to-weight ratio) in middle age corresponded to earlier onset of Alzheimer’s by about 6.5 months what the authors termed a “robust” correlation.
“A healthy BMI at midlife may delay the onset of AD,” the study paper said, referring to Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers used the recorded BMI of more than 1,300 Americans, all of whom were monitored for an average of 14 years after signing up to be studied.
Of the group, 142 developed Alzheimer’s at an average age of 83.
The debilitating disorder is the most common form of dementia, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says affects nearly 50 million people worldwide some 7.7 million new cases per year.