Journal Article

Obesity and Cognitive Aging

Anna K. Dahl and Linda B. Hassing

in Epidemiologic Reviews

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 35, issue 1, pages 22-32
Published in print January 2013 | ISSN: 0193-936X
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1478-6729 | DOI:
Obesity and Cognitive Aging

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Obesity is a health problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Given the high prevalence of obesity, even a small adverse impact of obesity on cognitive aging might have a serious effect on public health. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the relation between obesity and cognitive function in late life among persons not diagnosed with dementia and to evaluate the evidence for a causal association. Medline was used to search for the following terms: obesity, overweight, cognition, cognitive, age, and aged. To be included, studies must have had a population-based, dementia-free sample and a 5-year minimum interval between measurement of the predictor and the outcome. Only 11 studies met the criteria. Of these, 7 studies assessed obesity in midlife and cognitive function in later life, and 4 studies assessed obesity and cognitive function in late life. The reviewed studies showed clear evidence that midlife obesity was associated with cognitive aging, whereas this association was weaker in late life; thus, no firm conclusions could be drawn. The findings of this review suggest that, although there is evidence for an association between midlife obesity and low cognitive abilities in late life, the direction of the association and the causality remain to be clarified.

Keywords: adiposity; aged; aging; body mass index; body weight; cognition; obesity; overweight

Journal Article.  5859 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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