Background: Association between high adiposity and the clinical progression of dementia remains puzzling. Objective: To separately examine the association between body mass index (BMI) and cognitive, functional, and behavioral declines before, at, and after diagnosis of dementia, and further stratified by age groups, and sex. Methods: A total of 1,141 individuals with incident dementia were identified from the Uniform Data Set of the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center. Cognitive function was evaluated by Mini-Mental State Exam, functional abilities were assessed using Functional Activities Questionnaire, and behavioral symptoms were captured by Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire at each follow-up visit. We used separate linear-mixed effects models to examine the association. Results: Compared to moderate baseline BMI, high baseline BMI was associated with 0.30-point slower annual progression rates in functional decline. For individuals aged 76 and over, high baseline BMI was associated with 0.42-point faster progression rates in cognitive decline annually. A U-shaped association between baseline BMI and cognitive decline was observed among men. Conclusion: BMI levels before dementia diagnosis may facilitate the identification of different risk profiles for progression rates of cognitive and functional declines in individuals who developed dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1517
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018


  • Behavior
  • body mass index
  • cognition
  • dementia
  • disease progression
  • neuropsychological tests
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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