Increasing knowledge on dementia risk reduction in the general population: Results of a public awareness campaign

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Strategies to reduce dementia risk are needed to minimize the burden of this growing public health concern. Most individuals are not aware that dementia risk reduction is possible, let alone how this could be achieved. Health education, such as public awareness campaigns on the topic of dementia risk reduction, can meet this need. A public health campaign (including social media and offering an online individual risk assessment tool) was carried out over a 7-month period in Flanders, Belgium. Impact was assessed in two independent online surveys, before (n = 1003) and after the campaign (n = 1008), in representative samples of adults aged 40-75 years. Questions regarding personal needs, wishes and barriers were also included. After the campaign, more individuals (10.3%) were aware that dementia risk reduction is possible than before the campaign, and more individuals correctly identified 10 out of 12 surveyed modifiable dementia risk and protective factors. However, no differences were observed in low-educated individuals. Further, specific differences in potential needs, wishes and barriers for future campaigns or interventions were observed between demographic strata. The majority of the respondents (89%) indicated that they would welcome more information on improving their brain-health. More than half (54%) also believed that they lacked the necessary knowledge to make brain-healthy behavior changes. In conclusion, effective public awareness campaigns on the topic of dementia risk reduction are feasible and timely, given the state of the evidence. Special efforts need to be made to develop effective campaigns, tailored towards low-educated individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106522
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Early online date17 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer?s disease
  • Risk factor
  • Risk reduction
  • Public health
  • Health promotion
  • Lifestyle
  • Primary prevention
  • Brain health
  • Healthy aging
  • Health behavior
  • Health literacy
  • Health awareness
  • CARE

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