Focus: Campaign of the week - Chess and oily fish beat dementia

Anita Pati, anita.pati@haynet.com

Chessboards, walking the dog and oily fish are at the centre of Alzheimer Scotland's message this week as the charity launches its dementia awareness campaign. The 'good for you, good for your brain' campaign, which will be launched on 5 June, is the charity's first attempt to target people aged between 45 and 65 with lifestyle messages in a bid to reduce their risk of developing dementia later in life.

The campaign's key themes of eating healthily, staying mentally active, taking regular exercise and maintaining social networks will be conveyed using three adverts placed in all Scottish national newspapers throughout June.

One advert carries text in the shape of a fish and encourages people to "enjoy a nice piece of mackerel or salmon". Another, whose text forms a question mark, says puzzles, sudoku or bingo can cut the risk of dementia by up to 47 per cent.

Alzheimer Scotland will also host a conference on 5 June called Dementia Active: Changing How We See Dementia, which will examine how individuals can cut the risk of developing dementia and how they can live with the condition.

Scottish comedian Craig Hill will launch the campaign at a Glasgow shopping centre while posing on a giant chessboard, highlighting the importance of staying mentally active. The charity will be handing out pedometers to shoppers to show them how moderate exercise can be as effective as sweating it out at the gym.

Hill will also be distributing Alzheimer Scotland's Risk Reduction information leaflet, which announces the launch of its mini-website www.goodforyourbrain.org. A spokeswoman said the minisite was 'walled off' from the main Alzheimer website so as not to intimidate potential browsers.

Maureen Thom, information manager at the charity, said: "There is a body of research that highlights the link between healthy lifestyles in middle age and a decreased risk of developing dementia later in life. Because the number of people with dementia is increasing significantly each year, we feel the time is right for these messages to be delivered."

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