The WHO officially suggests regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking and avoiding harmful alcohol use, controlling your weight, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels is key to reduce the possibility of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Research over the past decade has suggested that a healthy lifestyle is important in reducing risk for dementia, and these new guidelines encourage people to start dementia prevention early.
Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says, “In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple. We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia.
“The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”
Health-care providers are encouraged to use the WHO guidelines as advice for patients on preventing cognitive decline and dementia.
The WHO believes these guidelines will also play a part in Government, policy makers and planning authorities decisions in developing programs and policies for healthy lifestyles and dementia prevention.
Dementia is currently a main focus of the WHO, with other areas covered including strengthening information systems for dementia; diagnosis, treatment and care; supporting carers of people with dementia; and research and innovation.
The WHO has dementia classified as a growing public health problem in the world with it currently affecting 50 million people globally and more than 400,000 people in Australia.