Having a higher body mass index (BMI) can negatively impact your memory, especially if you're an older adult, a new study from the University of Arizona in the United States suggests.
The researchers think that inflammation may be to blame, as being overweight contributes to inflammation throughout your body. Keep reading for more....
A number of previous studies have associated weight with brain health
It’s well-established that maintaining a healthy weight can protect against a host of health issues, from diabetesm to heart diseasem to cancer
. While a number of previous studies have linked weight to brain health, none have looked exactly at how one affects the other.
Figuring out the relationship between weight and brain health could potentially help scientists develop interventions to better prevent cognitive decline
, says Kyle Bourassa, a psychology doctoral student and co-author of the new study. And so Bourassa and his colleagues set out to further explore these connections…
New study ties having a higher body mass index to memory problems
The team analysed data from more than 21,000 British people aged 50 and older. They tested the participants’ BMI, inflammation levels and cognition a number of times over a period of six years.
The team found a clear association between the three factors: The higher the participants’ BMI at the first time point in the study, the greater the change in their inflammation levels over the next four years. That change in inflammation then predicted a decline in brain functioning – including memory and executive functioning – two years later.
In simpler terms, the findings suggests that your BMI predicts your cognitive decline
through your levels of systemic inflammation. Bourassa says these findings provide yet another reason to keep excess weight off. “Having a lower body mass is just good for you, period. It’s good for your health and good for your brain,” he concluded.
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