Increasing awareness for dementia risk reduction through a public awareness campaign in Denmark: A pre-post study

Dominique Paauw, Irene Heger, Jon Fiala Bjerre, Maria Fisker Ringgaard, Vita Stensgård, Dorothee Horstkötter, Sebastian Köhler, Kay Deckers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: It is estimated that about 40% of all dementia cases are potentially attributable to modifiable risk factors, but awareness of this is relatively lacking. METHODS: An 18-months nation-wide public awareness campaign on dementia risk reduction was rolled out in Denmark that combined a mass-media approach with an online risk assessment tool and knowledge bank targeting all inhabitants aged between 40 and 75?years. Campaign effects (increase in awareness and knowledge of modifiable dementia risk and protective factors) were assessed via online surveys in two independent random samples before (n?=?1003) and after the campaign (n?=?1076). RESULTS: After adjusting for differences in educational level between the two samples, there was no significant difference in awareness of dementia risk reduction between the pre-campaign (66.5% aware) and post-campaign (63.4% aware) sample (probit z?=?-0.08, p?=?0.151). The number of correctly identified risk/protective factors was significantly higher in the post-campaign sample. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, self-reported exposure to the campaign was associated with more awareness, better recognition of risk/protective factors, more motivation for and actual implementation of lifestyle changes. CONCLUSIONS: This mass-media campaign did not increase overall awareness that dementia risk is partly modifiable. However, exposure to the campaign was associated with more awareness and willingness to take action to improve brain health. Future campaigns should tailor messages to specific subgroups to broaden the reach (e.g., males), co-create materials with the target group, and give special attention to the contribution of metabolic/cardiovascular risk factors to dementia risk.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107848
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Awareness
  • Brain health
  • Dementia
  • Health promotion
  • Knowledge
  • Lifestyle
  • Prevention
  • Public health
  • Risk factor
  • Risk reduction


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