Rising levels of obesity in middle age could cause a major rise in the number of dementia sufferers, researchers have warned. The risk of having dementia almost doubles with midlife obesity, the UK Health Forum said.
Dr Laura Webber and Tim Marsh found that by 2050 almost 7% of the population over 65 are predicted to suffer from dementia, costing £41bn a year compared with £23bn at present. They said: "This study adds to the body of evidence which shows the importance of policies to prevent obesity and its related diseases in the population, including dementia."
The study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, also predicted that by 2050, nearly half of men and 31% of women will be obese.
Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Research shows that obesity in midlife is a risk factor for dementia and these projections suggest rising obesity may contribute to growing levels of dementia in coming decades."