Excessive body fat around the middle linked to smaller brain size - Alzheimer's Society comment

Carrying extra body fat, especially around the middle, may be linked to brain shrinkage, according to a study published by Neurology.

For the study, researchers determined obesity by measuring body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio in study participants and found those with higher ratios of both measures had the lowest brain volume.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, says:

'We know there’s a link between obesity and dementia, so it’s not hugely surprising to see the results of this study showing obese people had slightly less grey matter, a risk factor for dementia.

'We don’t know what precisely links obesity, brain health, and risk of dementia, but it is likely that poorer cardiovascular health plays a role.'

'Our researchers are working day in, day out to try and further unpick this. Meanwhile, we’ve been working to help people understand and reduce their risk, by getting dementia included in the NHS Health Check for over 40s.

'It’s predicted that, by 2021, a million of us will have dementia. While we don’t have a cure or any way to slow down the disease, we need to focus on how we can prevent people getting dementia in the first place.

'While signing up to the marathon is a great start, just going for a brisk walk and cutting down on the sugary snacks will help lower your chances of dementia.'

Mediterranean diet and dementia

Evidence shows that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals, and low in red meat and sugar could help reduce dementia risks.

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