America’s obesity problem may translate into larger issues down the line, as a new study finds that being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle can put someone at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and UC San Francisco found that a person who suffers from midlife obesity is at an 18 percent increased risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s later in life.
Physical inactivity puts a person at risk as well, increasing the chance of developing the devastating cognitive condition by 13 percent. Other associated ailments hypertension and diabetes are also tied to Alzheimer’s as well, researchers found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that more than 70 percent of US adults are overweight, and more than 40 percent are obese, largely tied to sedentary lifestyles.
Researchers found that obesity, physical inactivity and being uneducated put a person at most risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life
Native Americans and black people are most likely to suffer from risk factors for Alzheimer’s, researchers found, while Asians suffer the least risk
Researchers, who published their findings Monday in JAMA Neurology, gathered data from over 375,000 peopled for the study.
One-in-five of the participants were aged 65 or older, meaning they were already at an age where there is an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Each participant was surveyed on whether they suffered any of eight potential risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The survey also included risk factors like low education level, depression, smoking or hearing loss.
The most common risk factors reported by health officials were obesity and hypertension, for which more than one-out-of-three participants reported suffering from.
The data was adjusted to account for external risks like age, and to normalize each individual factor separately from the others.
Researchers found that a man who suffers from the risk factors is around 35 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, and women suffer a 30 percent increased risk.
Obesity was found to be the most harmful risk factor, followed by physical inactivity and low education levels.
The researchers found that those that suffered from midlife hypertension or diabetes were also between seven to ten percent more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s later in life.
Researchers also stratified the data across race, and found that black and Native American participants were each nearly 40 percent more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s if they suffered from the condition.
The research team writes that the reason for this is that black and native Americans are more likely to suffer from obesity and hypertension, leading to the disparity opening up.
The CDC warns that more than half of Americans are overweight, and that over 40% suffer from obesity (file photo)
Asian Americans seemed to suffer the least risk, as the racial group also registered much lower prevalence of the risk factors than every other group.
The findings have grave implications for the future of Americans, as the country’s health crisis with obesity, diabetes and hypertension continue to spiral further out of control.
The CDC reports that around three-in-four Americans are overweight – classified as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher – and that 40 percent are obese – a BMI of 30 or higher.
Half of Americans also suffer from hypertension – often referred to colloquially as high blood pressure – according to the CDC.
Around ten percent of Americans also suffer from diabetes, per the agency, making up over 30 million people.
All three conditions are associated with one another, and each already have known links to a shorter lifespan, infertility, and various heart conditions. Over the past two years, the diseases have become noted risk factors for COVID-19 as well.
This study’s findings add to the potential devastating future some Americans that suffer from these conditions may have in store.