More evidence that Australians must modify their lifestyles to reduce risk of dementia

26 March 2015

Alzheimer’s Australia is concerned that more than half of the Australian population is inactive, according to a paper released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), which increases their risk of developing dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said: “Research has found that around 13% (or approximately 4 million) of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide are attributable to physical inactivity.” 

“If a quarter of inactive people became more active, this could prevent nearly 1 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide.”

The paper also suggests that modifiable risk factors such as diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking are also risk factors of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“A growing body of evidence is finding that there is an association between diabetes, cardiovascular disease, among many other chronic diseases, as well as cognitive decline,” Ms Bennett said.

“If left unchecked, these chronic diseases can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.

“Dementia Australia’s world first dementia risk reduction program, Your Brain Matters, has led the world in educating the Australian public of the modifiable risk factors of dementia, including many of those mentioned in AIHW’s report.

“Strategies suggested in the Your Brain Matters program, such as maximising your brain health and managing your blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure, have been proven to reduce the risk of developing some of the world’s most devastating chronic diseases, including dementia.

“The report by AIHW gives greater evidence to support ongoing funding of Your Brain Matters program beyond June 2015, when the current funding is set to end.”