Being overweight in the middle stages of life could lead to an elevated dementia risk in old age, research has revealed.
Scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm revealed that middle-aged people who are overweight have a 71 per cent increased risk of developing dementia compared to individuals of a normal weight.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, is the first to indicate that being overweight is a risk factor for the condition, although links have already been made between dementia and obesity.
Dr Weili Xu of the institute said: "The risk is not as substantial as for those who are obese, but it has public health importance because of this large number of people worldwide who are overweight."
Meanwhile, Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, has said that individuals can stave off dementia through their diet.
According to the expert, eating plenty of oily fish along with fresh fruit and vegetables could prevent the condition from developing.