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BODY MASS INDEX IN EARLY … - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
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Conference paper
Authors Anna Dahl
Linda Hassing
E. Fransson
M. Gatz
C. A. Reynolds
N. L. Pedersen
Published in Gerontologist
Volume 51
Issue Supplement 2
Pages 290
ISSN 0016-9013
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 290
Language en
Keywords aging; body mass index; cognition; overweight; underweight
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


The aims of this study were to study the association between early and late midlife body mass index (BMI), change in BMI, and late life cognitive abilities in a dementia free sample. BMI was calculated from self-reported height and weight in early midlife (mean age 39.9 years, range 25-50) (1963 or 1973) and from assessed weight and height in late midlife (mean age 61.1 years, range 50-75). Starting in 1986 participants were assessed five times at three year intervals on a cognitive test battery in the longitudinal Swedish doption/Twin Study of Aging (N=657). Latent growth curve models, adjusting for pairness, showed that persons with higher BMI in early midlife had significantly lower cognitive performance across domains in late life. Moreover, obesity was significantly associated with a steeper decline in perceptual speed and non-significantly associated with steeper decline in verbal and spatial abilities. Both being underweight and overweight/obese in late life were associated with an increased risk of lower cognitive abilities across domains. However, when decline in BMI was controlled for, underweight in late midlife was no longer associated with lower cognitive ability in any domain. Further, being underweight across midlife, and weight loss between early and late midlife, were each associated with lower mean level cognitive abilities in late life (centered at age 65). In conclusion, several different weight patterns were associated with lower cognitive abilities in late life. Weight patterns may be an important clue to understand the association between weight and cognitive health in late life.

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