What your waistline says about your likely cognitive decline

As a person’s waist-to-hip ratio increases, so does the likelihood of cognitive impairment.

Belly fat linked to cognitive decline

A new study has found that a measure of belly fat is associated with reduced cognitive function in adults over the age of 60.

The findings have significant implications as the global prevalence of dementia is predicted to increase to 81.1 million people by 2040.

Previous studies have found that people who are overweight do not perform as well on tests of memory and visuospatial ability compared to those who are normal weight. However, it was not well known if this was true in older adults.

Researchers from Dublin’s Trinity College studied data from 5000 elderly adults from Ireland and Northern Ireland, and they discovered that a higher hip-to-waist ratio was associated with reduced cognitive function.

The researchers said this could be explained by an increased secretion of inflammatory markers by belly fat, which has been previously associated with a higher risk of impaired cognition.

Given the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the older population and the economic and social burden of cognitive dysfunction, the results suggest that reducing obesity and exposure to obeso-genic risk factors could offer a cost-effective public health strategy for the prevention of cognitive decline.

“While we have known for some time that obesity is associated with negative health consequences our study adds to emerging evidence suggesting that obesity and where we deposit our excess weight could influence our brain health,” explained Professor Conal Cunningham from Trinity College. “This has significant public health implications.”

Are you worried your belly fat may affect your cognitive abilities later in life? Does the news make you more motivated to pursue a healthy lifestyle?

Read the Trinity College study.

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    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.





    COMMENTS

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    Jules
    8th Aug 2018
    10:11am
    I don't know how they come to this conclusion - my mother was only 50kg and had dementia and was never overweight
    Rod63
    8th Aug 2018
    10:29am
    Thete are always exceptios. Researchers, like statisticians, work with meaningful numbers, not one or two examples.
    tisme
    8th Aug 2018
    10:17am
    ive gained weight since I started anti depressants and it doesn't seem to matter what I do diets etc nothing works
    Rod63
    8th Aug 2018
    10:31am
    Sorry to hear that tisme. Some medications can mess with people's weight, for sure.
    Rod63
    8th Aug 2018
    10:30am
    Another reason to eat sensibly and exercise.

    8th Aug 2018
    10:55am
    Have known 3 people with dementia, even one in Dublin where the research comes from. Two of them have passed on, but all three of them were never overweight.
    Rosret
    8th Aug 2018
    11:46am
    All the people I know with dementia are or were skinny as. However if we are talking beer barreled heavy drinkers then just maybe their memory is a little light on in the morning.
    Rosret
    8th Aug 2018
    11:43am
    Seriously! If this is the caliber of our University students and their misuse of statistics then the world is in for future shock.
    Rod63
    8th Aug 2018
    12:45pm
    It says it was researchers, not students, and they looked at 5000 people.
    Of course all people with belly fat won't get dementia just as all people with dementia don't have a lot of belly fat.
    Yup I Know
    8th Aug 2018
    12:04pm
    Study resources we want to see,
    Rosret
    8th Aug 2018
    6:56pm
    I am just visualising a a bunch of researchers sitting in an Irish pub counting how many overweight drunks can't find their car keys or the front door.
    KSS
    8th Aug 2018
    12:42pm
    The fact that 20% of the world's obese live in Ireland it goes without saying some of these will be over 60 and have cognitive decline!

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/ireland-s-obesity-rate-among-world-s-worst-1.2594266

    Maybe lay off the potatoes and Guiness?
    Ageing but not getting old
    8th Aug 2018
    2:53pm
    Sorry, KSS - Think you misread the article: It actually says "Almost one-fifth of the world’s obese adults (118 million) live in Ireland and five other high-income English-speaking countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US."
    Thought that Ireland didn't have enough population to have 1/5 of the world's obese!! However, when you put in all the other countries stated there, I would think it would be closer to 1/3 to 1/2!
    KSS
    8th Aug 2018
    3:21pm
    Oops! But still stay off the Guiness and tatas!
    Daz
    8th Aug 2018
    12:45pm
    I don't really get the article. There is no mention of cause & effect, just correlation. So, what if there is a natural tendency to get fat (less movement but same calories = fat)and a similar high percentage chance to get dementia at the older age? Then you will see a correlation but why can you jump on that & say that fat is causing dementia? There's a correlation between height & shoe size but does one cause the other?

    Also, don't obese people die younger? What does that do to study numbers?
    MD
    8th Aug 2018
    8:18pm
    Yeh, best I refrain from commenting about my pet hate, ie, fat bastards, suffice to say if one of those wiz kids the world seems to be awash with atm could come up with some sort of fat blaster he'd be guaranteed work for yonks.

    Regardless of which, I reckon your take on the matter is the nearest ideal to their BMI thing Daz, although now that I think about it hasn't the nomenclature moved on ? Political correctness probably canned the mention cos 'Body & Mass' was seen as shaming the porkers.

    8th Aug 2018
    12:56pm
    Makes sense
    Fat people are generally lazy
    Laziness of the body and laziness of the mind , the latter causing dementia
    Sundays
    8th Aug 2018
    7:24pm
    I’ll tell that to my 95 year old uncle, and 93 year old Aunt. Both mentally sharp, keep up with current affairs, both living in their own home, no illnesses except some loss of mobility. They use Skype regularly to keep in contact. However, they do both have a sweet tooth and are a little overweight. I should be so lucky!
    Rod63
    8th Aug 2018
    7:46pm
    olbaid did say "generally".

    My mum was never lazy but always overweight.
    Seenitall
    8th Aug 2018
    8:14pm
    Certainly didn't apply to the Horace Rumpole character, he enjoyed enough good claret and steak and kidney pie to make him generously proportioned yet could hardly be described as mentally challenged. Excessive tummy fat has been associated with just about every malady known to medicine and we should perhaps add another which would be the deleterious effects of the stress caused by worrying about it.
    MD
    9th Aug 2018
    6:23am
    Yeh, what the hell Seenitall, everyone might as well pig out and lard up, then when we're all being smothered by commonplace obesity there's no need whatsoever to worry about it. Rumpole only acted on the instructions of 'she who must be obeyed' whereas most the rest of us are supposedly capable of making our own decisions. Judging by the average girth of our population it seems apparent there exists more than a few considered "mentally challenged".
    Seenitall
    9th Aug 2018
    10:00am
    Ah well MD at least the Rumpole types,i.e. those carrying a bit of extra weight, have been shown to live longer than the skinnies in a concentration camp and who knows, if the drought persists and food prices rocket, we might all be forced onto rations.
    OnlyDaughter
    9th Aug 2018
    8:27am
    My Mum who has dementia has had anorexia on and off throughout her life and there is not one surplus fat cell in her body. I am not even sure that she even has a fat cell!!! A gentle breeze would blow her away. I don't give much credence to these university studies. Most of them are written up on statistics based on less than a couple of hundred people.
    Rod63
    9th Aug 2018
    9:33am
    This looked at 5000 people - the story says.
    *Loloften*
    15th Aug 2018
    6:19am
    Researchers need to publish a "finding" annually if they don't want to lose their annual "research $$$$$$$s" from us. This is a just another load of crap which will be debunked, as are some almost mthly these days. It's time those Scientists concentrated on the chemicals in far more than we know re foods/toiletries/cleaning products etc & even the clothes we wear. Why did none of my parents many friends (nor my parents) pass away with diagnosed cancer/symptoms. Why have most of the funerals I've soo very sadly attended in past 10+ yrs have all mostly been from various cancers, most 1st diagnosis (as was my beloved) in 40s & early50s males but even very small children these days. Has to be the chemicals we either eat or inhale....wake up Scientists!!! Don't believe for a sec that cancer is caused by anyone's wt. I have more than a few friends who are either overwt or obese (as were none of the above, including my hubby) who are actually quite well & cancer free in their 60s, 70s & 80s, vast majority are females who did not encounter chemicals in their often administrative desk jobs.
    Rod63
    15th Aug 2018
    8:59am
    This research found a link between being overweight and cognitive impairment. Cancer was not mentioed.


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