Hobby Engagement and Risk of Disabling Dementia

J Epidemiol. 2023 Sep 5;33(9):456-463. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20210489. Epub 2022 Aug 10.


Background: The association between hobby engagement and risk of dementia reported from a short-term follow-up study for individuals aged ≥65 years may be susceptible to reverse causation. We examined the association between hobby engagement in age of 40-69 years and risk of dementia in a long-term follow-up study among Japanese, including individuals in mid-life, when the majority of individuals have normal cognitive function.

Methods: A total of 22,377 individuals aged 40-69 years completed a self-administered questionnaire in 1993-1994. The participants answered whether they had hobbies according to the three following responses: having no hobbies, having a hobby, and having many hobbies. Follow-up for incident disabling dementia was conducted with long-term care insurance data from 2006 to 2016.

Results: During a median of 11.0 years of follow-up, 3,095 participants developed disabling dementia. Adjusting for the demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial factors, the multivariable hazard ratios of incident disabling dementia compared with "having no hobbies" were 0.82 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75-0.89) for "having a hobby" and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.67-0.91) for "having many hobbies". The inverse association was similarly observed in both middle (40-64 years) and older ages (65-69 years). For disabling dementia subtypes, hobby engagement was inversely associated with the risk of dementia without a history of stroke (probably non-vascular type dementia), but not with that of post-stroke dementia (probably vascular type dementia).

Conclusion: Hobby engagement in both mid-life and late life was associated with a lower risk of disabling dementia without a history of stroke.

Keywords: disabling dementia; epidemiology; follow-up study; hobby engagement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hobbies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / epidemiology