London: Older people who are overweight are more likely to have lower cognitive function than their normal weight peers, claims a new study, providing one more reason
why you should shed those extra kilos.
Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea looked at over 250 people aged between 60 and 70 and found that those with a high body mass index (BMI) and big waists scored more poorly in cognitive tests.
To find out the relationship between fat levels and brain performance in older adults, the researchers calculated their BMI -- based on a ratio of weight to height -- and measured
their waist circumferences. The participants have also went through a scan of fat stored in the abdomen and a mental test.
Both a high BMI and high levels of abdominal fat were linked with poor cognitive performance in adults aged between 60 and 70. In individuals aged 70 and older, high BMI, waist circumference and abdominal body fat were not associated with low cognitive performance, the researchers said.
"Our findings have important public health implications," study author Dae Hyun Yoon was quoted as saying by BBC News.
"The prevention of obesity, particularly central obesity, might be important for the prevention of cognitive decline or dementia."
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from the UK Alzheimer`s Society said: "We have all heard how a high BMI is bad for our heart but this research suggests it could also be bad for the head.
"Although we don`t know whether the people in this study went on to develop dementia, these findings add to the evidence that excess body fat could impact on brain function.
"One in three people over 65 will die with dementia but there are things people can do to reduce their risk.
"Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked can all make a difference.” puts you at
higher risk of brain decline. The study is published in the journal Age and Ageing.