(HealthDay News) — The prevalence of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias varies and is highest for high blood pressure and not meeting aerobic physical activity guidelines, according to research published in the May 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

John D. Omura, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the cognitive decline module that was administered to adults aged 45 years and older in 31 states and the District of Columbia in the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey to examine the status of eight potentially modifiable risk factors.

The researchers found that among the risk factors, the prevalence was highest for high blood pressure and not meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline (49.9 and 49.7%, respectively), followed by obesity (35.3%), and it was lowest for hearing loss and binge drinking (10.5 and 10.3%, respectively); prevalence varied by selected demographic characteristics. The likelihood of reporting four or more risk factors was increased for adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) versus those without SCD (34.3 versus 13.1%). The prevalence of SCD was 11.3% overall and increased from 3.9 to 25% among adults with no risk factors and with four or more risk factors, respectively.

“The findings in this report highlight opportunities to accelerate action, particularly among specific populations at high risk,” the authors write. “Public health professionals can implement policy, systems, and environmental strategies to address modifiable risk factors at the population level.”

Abstract/Full Text