The occurrence of obesity, commonly estimated using body mass index (BMI), and the most common late-onset dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD), are increasing globally. The year 2013 marked a decade of epidemiologic observational reports on the association between BMI and late-onset dementias. In this review, we highlight epidemiological studies that measured both mid- and late-life BMI in association with dementia. Studies investigating the association between midlife BMI and risk for dementia demonstrated generally an increased risk among overweight and obese adults. When measured in late-life, elevated BMI has been associated with lower risk. In addition, being underweight and/or having a decrease in BMI in late-life are associated with higher dementia risk compared to BMI in the normal range or stable BMI. In this review, a decade (2003-2013) of epidemiologic observational studies on associations between BMI and AD is highlighted. These observations provide a strong base for addressing biological mechanisms underlying this complex association.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; body mass index; dementia; epidemiology; obesity; overweight.