Aims: To explore the underlying dimensions of a set of interrelated lifestyle factors and test the hypothesis that an active lifestyle may protect against dementia.
Methods: The study population consisted of 776 participants aged >or=75 years who were dementia-free at both baseline and the first follow-up examinations. Participation in leisure activities was assessed at baseline of the survey, and principal component analysis was used to identify their underlying factors.
Results: During the 9-year follow-up from exposure assessment, 212 subjects developed dementia. Higher factor scores of physical, mental, and social dimensions of an active lifestyle was each related to a lower dementia risk. A significant dose-response association between participation in the diverse dimensions and lower dementia risk was observed.
Conclusion: An active lifestyle may protect older people against dementia, and the higher level of engagement the stronger protection.