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The Influence of Aquariums on Weight in Individuals With Dementia

Edwards, Nancy E. PhD, ANP, RN*; Beck, Alan M. ScD

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: October-December 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 379–383
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e3182769b34
Original Articles

This study assessed whether individuals with dementia who observe aquariums increase the amount of food they consume and maintain body weight. The sample included 70 residents in dementia units within 3 extended care facilities in 2 states. The intervention included the introduction of an aquarium into each common dining area. A total increase of 196.9 g of daily food intake (25.0%) was noted from baseline to the end of the 10-week study. Resident body weight increased an average of 2.2 pounds during the study. Eight of 70 residents experienced a weight loss (

=1.89 lbs). People with advanced dementia responded to aquariums in their environment documenting that attraction to the natural environment is so innate that it survives dementia.

*School of Nursing

College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Nancy E. Edwards, PhD, ANP, RN, School of Nursing, Purdue University, 725 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-20 (e-mail:

Received February 17, 2012

Accepted August 10, 2012

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.