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Tuesday, March 8, 2005; Page HE02

OVERWEIGHT AND DEMENTED A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that older men who maintain a healthy body weight are much less likely than obese men to develop Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

The findings come from a Swedish study comparing dementia rates to body mass index (BMI), a rough estimator of body fat, among more than 7,000 men followed for over 20 years. Men with a BMI around 20 -- in the normal-weight range -- had the lowest rates of dementia; obese men, with a BMI of 30 or higher, had a risk 2.5 times higher.

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The same research group reported similar results among older women in 2003.

SCHOOL PROGRAMS UP IN SMOKE Smoking prevention programs in junior high and high school have little influence on whether teens choose to light up, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"Our study shows there is little evidence to suggest that existing school-based smoking prevention programs produce long-term reductions in smoking prevalence among youth," said Sarah Wiehe, assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

The researchers reviewed eight randomized, controlled smoking prevention trials with follow-up through at least 12th grade or age 18. Data from the popular Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program were included in the final analysis. Only one program, Life Skills Program, had fewer smokers at long-term follow-up than did control schools.

A commentary offers some possibly more effective strategies such as use of the media, taxes and smoke-free environments.

-- News Services and Staff Reports


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