A new report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveals that overweight people tend to have poorer memories. Based on the memory test used in the study, every extra point on the body mass index (BMI) led to a one-point drop on the test, indicating that the more obese a person is, the more memory problems he or she will have.
Most people are aware of the various other health dangers associated with obesity, including heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but this new research adds brain function to the list as well.
A team comprised of researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study on 8,745 women between the ages of 65 and 79. All participants filled out questionnaires that evaluated their lifestyle, overall health and background. In the end, results indicated that being obese seems to be directly correlated to having memory problems.
The team did find that being obese around the hips is more detrimental than being obese around the waist, but that both are obviously problematic.
Researchers are not exactly sure how being overweight affects brain function, but they suspect that it has something to do with the way extra fat affects a person’s hormone levels. Altered hormone levels can significantly impact the way the brain functions, which lends credence to this hypothesis.
They also speculate that perhaps the entire body is affected by being overweight, and that the heart and circulatory problems induced by obesity also affect brain function.
Either way, experts recommend that overweight people strive to lose weight as part of a healthy overall lifestyle.
“The most common causes of obesity are poor diet and/or eating habits and a lack of exercise,” explains Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, in her book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements.
So for many people, simply eliminating processed and junk foods from their diets and exercising more will help to get rid of those extra pounds.