Extra Pounds Age the Brain Faster
A new study shows that middle-aged adults who are overweight have less white matter in the brain than those who are leaner. It's widely known that obesity increases risk for problems like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, but now research shows it also may have adverse effects on brain health.
Some studies have shown that obesity speeds the onset and progression of brain shrinking that occurs naturally with aging. More research is needed to learn more about how obesity/overweight affects aging—we live in an aging population and, according to the World Health Organization, obesity rates around the world have more than doubled since 1980. In the U.S., over a third of adults are obese.
In this recent study, researchers compared brain scans and body mass indexes (BMI) of adults aged 20 to 87 with no known health problems. Brain imaging tests revealed reduced white matter volume in people who were overweight or obese, compared to people with a normal BMI—especially in study participants who were middle-aged or elderly.
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