Washington: A new collaborative study from Finland has found that a simple question about self-rated physical fitness in midlife may reveal individuals who are at an increased risk of developing dementia.
The study, involving the follow-up of 3,559 adults for 30 years, found that those who reported poor self-rated physical fitness in midlife, at the mean age of 50 years, were four times more likely to get dementia during the next three decades compared to those with good self-rated physical fitness.
"Previous research has shown that self-rated health is a strong indicator of adverse health events. This is the first large population-based study investigating associations between self-rated physical fitness during the three decades from midlife to later life and dementia risk," Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Jenni Kulmala from the Gerontology Research Center at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, said.
The association between poor self-rated physical fitness and dementia was most pronounced among noncarriers of the apolipoprotein E e4 allele, that is, people who did not have a strong genetic susceptibility for dementia.
The researcher said that chronic conditions independently increase the dementia risk. Furthermore, if a person additionally feels that his or her physical fitness is poor, the risk is even higher.
In terms of dementia prevention, maintaining good physical fitness seems to be especially important for people with chronic diseases, Kulmala added.
The study was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.