Study: high fitness associated with 90% lower risk of dementia

Not diabetes specific, but still shocking. This study just published in Neurology is a longitudinal population study that tracked a population of women for 44 years. What they found out was that, after 44 years, the risk for dementia among high fitness women was only 12% of that for the “medium fitness group” (which I understand as the average group), while the same risk for the low fitness group was 141% of the medium fitness risk:

Compared with medium fitness, the adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause dementia during the 44-year follow-up was 0.12 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.03–0.54) among those with high fitness and 1.41 (95% CI 0.72–2.79) among those with low fitness.

The hazard ratio measure the ratio of the risk of the specific subgroup compared to a control population, in this case the “medium fitness” group. So, in this case, the risk of dementia for high fitness women is 0.12 times that of the “medium fitness” group.

This is a well-designed study, covering about 1,500 subjects, of which close to 200 were evaluated for fitness. We all know that exercise is a significant positive factor with regards to dementia. But I think these numbers will give pause to a lot of people.


Original study:

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At his present training rate, I am calculating that @eric will not reach a 50% risk of dementia until approximately 930 years of age.


This is also a very specific type of fitness – cardiovascular fitness. Also, being “moderately fit” was not all that protective… you really had to be extremely fit. I would be curious what they defined as moderately versus very fit.

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It’s almost as if they’ve proven that healthy lifestyles are good for people!


What is medium fitness? What if you are kinda high medium fitness, medium plus…forget it I am going to spin class.

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Some people would argue that I am already there.

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