elders talking

May is Older Americans’ Month. The Alzheimer’s Association shares the following evidence on risk factors to promote healthy aging and reduce the risk for cognitive decline and dementia as we age.

There are still many unanswered questions and significant uncertainty with respect to the relationship between individual risk factors and dementia (for example, to what degree there is a causal relationship). There is a clear need for more research on risk reduction, prevention, and brain health—both more longitudinal, population-based cohort studies and randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of specific interventions that address modifiable risk factors.

However, the Association also believes there is sufficiently strong evidence, from a population-based perspective, to conclude: (1) regular physical activity and management of cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension) have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia; and (2) a healthy diet and lifelong learning/cognitive training may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

The evidence has now reached a point that it can no longer remain simply an exercise in academic discussion. The public should know what the science concludes: certain healthy behaviors known to be effective for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are also good for brain health and for reducing the risk of cognitive decline. For our part, the Alzheimer’s Association has launched a new brain health education program, Healthy Habits for a Healthier You. It is designed to provide consumers with the latest research and practical information on ways they can take care of their bodies and brains to age as well as possible.


alzheimers association logo


The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementias.