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Being overweight in mid-life can serve to increase the risk of developing dementia later on, experts have warned.

New research carried out by the Boston University of Medicine found a link between excess levels of abdominal fat in middle age and a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over the longer-term.

As such, men and women of a certain age should not just look to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to protect their physical wellbeing, but to safeguard their mental health as well, the Alzheimer's Society advised.

Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the charity, has said: "It is well documented that exercise and eating a varied diet, particularly of the Mediterranean type, reduces the risk of dementia, but it doesn't mean that it guarantees you, it just reduces the risk."

These comments come soon after a report commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare found that almost nine in ten Europeans are largely unaware of the main health risks that could shorten their lives.

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