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Obesity increases Alzheimer's risk

29th June 2007

People who are obese are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease in old age, new research has revealed.

This is thought to relate to the ease with which the body can clear out amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain, a process which is more straightforward when cholesterol levels are low.

Currently 700,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is expected to rise substantially as the population ages, a phenomenon that looks to be exacerbated by rates of obesity in the country.

The Alzheimer's Society has released a booklet named Be Headstrong, which offers tips for preventing Alzheimer's.

These include not smoking, eating less saturated fat, exercising regularly, leading an active social life and having blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, is quoted in the Times as saying: "Obesity is a huge risk factor. People who are overweight at 60 are twice as likely to get dementia at 75.

"We have a public health epidemic of dementia given the ageing population and it is essential to reduce the risks.

"If these factors are not controlled, it may not be 1.5 million but 2 or 2.5 million people affected."