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Association between exercise and the risk of dementia: results from a nationwide longitudinal study in China

05 Dec 2017

Objective

This study was conducted to examine the causal association between exercise and the risk of dementia among older Chinese adults.

Design

Longitudinal population-based study with a follow-up duration of 9 years.

Setting

Data for the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey waves occurring from 2002 to 2011–2012 were extracted from the survey database.

Participants

In total, 7501 dementia-free subjects who were older than 65 years were included at baseline. Dementia was defined as a self-reported or proxy-reported physician’s diagnosis of the disease.

Outcome measures and methods

Regular exercise and potential confounding variables were obtained via a self-report questionnaire. We generated longitudinal logistic regression models based on time-lagged generalised estimating equation to examine the causal association between exercise and dementia risk.

Results

Of the 7501 older Chinese people included in this study, 338 developed dementia during the 9-year follow-up period after excluding those who were lost to follow-up or deceased. People who regularly exercised had lower odds of developing dementia (OR=0.53, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.85) than those who did not exercise regularly.

Conclusion

Regular exercise was associated with decreased risk of dementia. Policy-makers should develop effective public health programmes and build exercise-friendly environments for the general public.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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