Reducing dementia risk factors should be incorporated into national and global public health programs alongside other major non-communicable diseases (NCD), urges the organization Alzheimer’s Disease International. This and other recommendations were published in the World Alzheimer’s Report 2014: Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors.

The report states that low education in early life, hypertension in midlife, and smoking and diabetes across the lifespan show the strongest evidence for possible causal associations with dementia. While older adults are rarely targeted in prevention programs, improved detection of treatment and diabetes and smoking cessation in this population should be prioritized. Increased physical activity and efforts to reduce obesity rates can also help to reduce cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors that are strongly associated with an increased risk of dementia.

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Future research is needed to assess lifestyle and control of dementia risk in randomized controlled trials when possible and improve quality and relevance in observations studies. In addition, the report strongly recommends that dementia be included on World Health Organization (WHO) and national NCD planning, with a message that it is never too late in life to reduce risk factors for dementia.

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