Being overweight in your 20s almost doubles your risk of dementia, a major study has found.
The report, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, analysed factors which increased a person’s risk of the disease and found they may be apparent in early adulthood.
If these are identified and addressed early it could reduce the number of people who go on to develop dementia, the researchers said.
It comes as the Government announced its landmark obesity strategy to get the nation fit, including a scheme to provide bike lanes, free repairs and GPs prescribing cycling to overweight patients.
Around 850,000 people in the UK currently suffer from some form of dementia, but little is known about the role of early life BMI (body mass index) and dementia risk.
In what the authors say is the first of its kind, this new research reveals that having a higher BMI in early adulthood is associated with a higher risk of the disease.
The risk was also greater among women. For those who were overweight in their 20s their dementia risk was 1.8 times higher than those with a normal BMI.
This increased to 2.5 times higher among women who were obese.
For men, the dementia risk was 2.5 times higher among those who were obese in early adulthood than those with a normal BMI.