Obesity at 50 Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Study Shows

Here is another good reason to diet. Research continues to show a link between weight in mid-life and risk of Alzheimer's including the age one might suffer from it. Proactive action with a better lifestyle and better planning can better address the risk of dementia and the costs and burdens of aging.

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Obesity at 50 Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Study Shows
3 Min Read September 1st, 2015 Updated:May 15th, 2022

Several studies have suggested a connection between being overweight in midlife and a higher risk of Alzheimer's. More midlife pounds meant an earlier onset of the disease among those who eventually developed memory issues. 

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigated and reported in 2015 that being overweight or obese at age 50 may influence not just whether a person goes on to develop Alzheimer's disease but when. A 2022 study said that in the United States, up to 18% of adults in their 40s and 50s meet the criteria for obesity or being severely overweight, placing them at high risk for dementia.

A recent study by United Kingdom researchers published in 2020 also showed that increased body weight or abdominal obesity is associated with increased dementia incidence.

The U.K. study sampled older adults in England. The research showed that 74% of the participants who developed dementia were overweight or obese at baseline, compared to 72% of those not diagnosed with dementia by the end of the study period. There was a higher incidence of dementia in women who had abdominal obesity.

More research will confirm, but researchers note this is another reason to watch your weight. 

Being Overweight Leads to Many Health Problems

Obesity has emerged as a leading public health concern in many western nations, including the United States. It has been well-established that people who are obese face increased risks of death from heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Now, multiple studies connect dementia and being overweight.

The NIH says that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Even more alarming, 17% of women and 11% percent of men are severely obese. In the U.K., The Health Survey for England 2019 estimated that 28.0% of adults in England are obese, and an additional 36.2% are overweight but not obese.

Women are at a higher risk of dementia; adding extra pounds adds more risk as a woman ages. Maintaining an ideal weight has become even more critical for women of all ages. 

Know Your BMI

Recent NIH research found that a body mass index (BMI) between 20.0 and 24.9 is associated with the lowest risk of death in healthy, non-smoking adults. 

Current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9. 

Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9; obesity is a BMI over 30.0, and severe obesity is a BMI of 35 or higher. For a BMI calculator, click here

Maintaining a healthy BMI at midlife is likely to have long-lasting protective effects.

Dr. Madhav Thambisetty of NIH's National Institute on Aging,

Memory Loss Leading Cause of Long-Term Health Care

Memory loss from Alzheimer's and other demntias is one of the leading reasons people need long-term health care around the world. With an aging population, many more people will need supervision and long-term health care, putting a drain on public and private budgets.

In the U.S., Medicaid is the biggest funder of long-term health care services. However, the program requires the care recipient to have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits. 

As a result, private funds, informal and unpaid family caregivers, and Long-Term Care Insurance become the funding source. Family caregivers usually become the default care plan due to dwindling savings and lack of LTC Insurance. 

Current estimates reported by the CDC say that about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The number includes 5.6 million aged 65 and older and approximately 200,000 under age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer's Association says around 900,000 people live with dementia in the U.K. They expect that number to rise sharply in the coming years. In Canada, over 747,000 individuals live with Alzheimer's or other dementia, and an estimated 487,500 Australians have dementia. 

Being Prepared for Aging Key to Successful Retirement Planning

Barring a medical breakthrough, the risk of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia will continue to impact families and create substantial financial burdens on loved ones and taxpayers. 

In the U.S., taxpayers pay for long-term care if a person has little or no money or ends up spending down their own assets paying for care themselves. With the cost of care being high, the spend-down can happen quick.

Alzheimer's starts quietly ravaging the brain more than a decade before symptoms appear. With a cure way down the road, researchers are exploring ways to at least delay the disease, and lifestyle changes are among the possible options available.

The costs of long-term care services are going up yearly so the financial impact can be severe - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Women Can't Ignore Aging

Alzheimer's is especially a big issue for women in general. The Alzheimer's Association says a 65-year-old American woman has a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

Women in their 60s are also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's than breast cancer, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

The U.S. research added to previous research that linked midlife obesity to a risk of Alzheimer's, but it's the first to also find those brain changes, a clue important to examine further, said Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer's Association, who wasn't involved in the work.

The more recent study from the U.K reinforces the idea that we can affect dementia with lifestyle, but to what extent is still unknown. However, maintaining a healthy weight is good for overall health. The Alzheimer's Association has long recommended healthy weight.

What's good for your heart is good for your brain.

Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer's Association

Memory Loss Not Only Aging Concern

No matter how well we take care of our health and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the risk of memory loss is still significant. The older we get, the more likely we will face declining health, mobility problems, and memory loss.

Being prepared before these health changes take place will protect your family and finances. Since traditional health insurance and Medicare, including supplements, will pay little or nothing toward long-term care, many people consider adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to their retirement plan. 

The guaranteed tax-free benefits will give you access to quality care options, including in-home care. You get to choose the care you want and avoid becoming dependent on family caregivers. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when their health is still reasonably good, and premiums are lower. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Without LTC Insurance, the responsibility for your future long-term care is yours. That means you will pay for professional care from your income and assets, or your family will become caregivers - or both.

Most research polls say most people don't want to place that burden and stress on their spouses and adult children. People don't want to diminish their lifestyles and drain assets. A surviving spouse may live many years beyond, and a significant drain on savings can become a financial disaster.

Some people think declining health and aging will not impact them. The truth is that aging happens, and we should prepare for the future costs and burdens of aging. The consequences are real, and the solution is available.

The solution for many people is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Yet, who wants to buy another insurance policy? This is an understandable concern; however, LTC Insurance is more than just about money - it is about family. 

The time to obtain coverage is ideally in your 40s and 50s when you still enjoy fairly good health, and premiums are much lower. 

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com   

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