Association of Long-Term Body Weight Variability With Dementia: A Prospective Study

Hui Chen, Tianjing Zhou, Jie Guo, John S. Ji, Liyan Huang, Weili Xu, Guangmin Zuo, Xiaozhen Lv, Yan Zheng, Albert Hofman, Yuan Ma, Changzheng Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Body weight variability (BWV) refers to intraindividual weight loss and gain over a period. The association of long-term BWV with dementia remains unclear and whether this association is beyond body weight change is undetermined. METHODS: In the Health and Retirement Study, a total of 5 547 dementia-free participants (56.7% women; mean [SD] age, 71.1 [3.2] years) at baseline (2008) were followed up to 8 years (mean = 6.8 years) to detect incident dementia. Body weight was self-reported biennially from 1992 to 2008. BWV was measured as the coefficient of variation utilizing the body weight reported 9 times across 16 years before baseline. Cox-proportional hazard model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). RESULTS: Among the 5 547 participants, a total of 427 incident dementia cases were identified during follow-up. Greater long-term BWV was significantly associated with a higher risk of dementia (HR comparing extreme quartiles: 2.01, 95% CI: 1.48-2.72; HR of each SD increment: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.10-1.32; p-trend < .001) independent of mean body weight and body weight change. This significant association was even observed for BWV estimated approximately 15 years preceding dementia diagnosis (HR of each SD increment: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.03-1.23) and was more pronounced for that closer to diagnosis. CONCLUSION: Our prospective study suggested that greater BWV may be a novel risk factor for dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2116-2122
Number of pages7
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Zhejiang University Education Foundation Global Partnership Fund (to C.Y.). The Health and Retirement Study is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration. The study director is Dr. David R. Weir of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.


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