Experts reveal 5 steps to cut dementia risk
Published on 10 December 2013 02:00 PM
Researchers have hailed the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle in helping to stave off dementia.
According to a 35-year study by Cardiff University, there are 5 'simple' steps people can take in a bid to reduce the risk of illnesses such as Alzheimer's, which include: regular exercise, healthy eating, not smoking, consuming little alcohol, and keeping a low body weight.
Of these lifestyle tips, the biggest influence in cutting dementia risk is exercise, the study of 2,235 men found.
A breakdown of the study, which started in 1979, shows that people who followed four of these rules had a 60% less chance of developing dementia.
Compared with patients who followed none of the tips, the 'healthy' participants also had 70% fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Researchers left 'amazed' by the results
Study leader Professor Peter Elwood, working on behalf of the Cardiff School of Medicine, said researchers had been left 'amazed' by the results.
He added: 'The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an ageing population.
'Taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is however the responsibility of the individual him or herself.
'Sadly, the evidence from this study shows that very few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle.'
While exercise stood out as key to preventing dementia-related illness, Prof Elwood pointed out that an overall healthy lifestyle was equally important and older people can reap the benefits by partaking in 'any exercise', and not just by joining a gym.
'Exercise happens to be the most important but the other factors come in very close behind,' he told BBC Wales.
'We should all live a more active lifestyle. If I park my car a mile from work - that makes me likely to do more than the half an hour a day. Any exercise has some benefit and the more, the better.'
Copyright Press Association 2013