DOI: 10.1002/alz.13417 ISSN:

Systematic review and meta‐analysis on population attributable fraction for physical inactivity to dementia

Natan Feter, Jayne S. Leite, Luísa Silveira da Silva, Júlia Cassuriaga, Danilo de Paula, Gabriela Wünsch Lopes, Pedro Rodrigues Curi Hallal, I‐Min Lee, Airton José Rombaldi
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



The number of cases of dementia attributable to physical inactivity remains unclear due to heterogeneity in physical inactivity definitions and statistical approaches used.


Studies that used population‐based samples to estimate the population attributable fraction (PAF) of physical inactivity for dementia were included in this review. Weighted PAFs were adjusted for communality among the risk factors (i.e., inactive persons may also share other risk factors) analyzed. Values were reported as percentage (%) of cases of dementia attributable to physical inactivity.


We included 22 studies. The overall impact of physical inactivity, defined by any criteria, on dementia ranged from 6.6% (95% CI: 3.6%, 9.6%; weighted) to 16.6% (95% CI: 14.4%, 18.9%; unweighted). Studies using the WHO criterion for physical inactivity estimated a higher unweighted impact (β = 7.3%; 95% CI: 2.0%, 12.6%) than studies using other criteria.


Conservatively, one in 15 cases of dementia may be attributable to physical inactivity, defined by any criteria.

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