Obesity Increases The Risk of Dementia

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Individuals, who suffer from obesity or are overweight with large bellies have double or triple the risk of dementia.

People in their 40s with larger stomachs have a higher risk for dementia when they reach their 70s, according to a study published in the March 26, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Obesity and Dementia Link

Previous studies have looked at central obesity (as determined by waist circumference) and body mass index in the elderly and its link to dementia risk. In addition, previous studies have shown that a large abdomen -- in midlife -- increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. This is the first time researchers have demonstrated a longitudinal association between midlife belly fat and the risk of dementia.

Capturing abdominal obesity in midlife may be a much better indicator of the long-term metabolic dysregulation that leads to dementia risk, said study author Rachel Whitmer, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

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