As the size of the abdomen increases, the probability of suffering from dementia increases

As the size of the abdomen increases, the probability of suffering from dementia increases

The happiness curve may make memory-oriented regions of your brain perform worse , according to a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology .

One in eight deaths in England was attributed to dementia in 2017. Given the significant public health burden this adds to a society, researchers at University College London wanted to understand the role of obesity in cognitive decline .

Obesity and dementia

Obesity affects a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and dementia. The cited study specifically wanted to know whether waist circumference plays a role in increasing rates of dementia .

The team obtained data from 6,582 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging , an 18-year study (so far) with more than 18,000 volunteers.

Subjects were divided into normal weight, overweight, and obesity groups. Body mass index (BMI) was one of the two markers used, however this measure does not take into account muscle mass or how fat is distributed throughout the body. The waist circumference measurement , which the researchers refer to as central obesity, adds a bit of clarity to the study. They define excess central obesity as more than 89 centimeters for women and more than 40 inches for men.

In total, 6.9 percent of the volunteers developed dementia during a follow-up period (maximum) of 15 years. 74 percent of the participants who developed dementia were overweight or obese. These findings are independent of demographics, lifestyle behaviors, hypertension, diabetes, and APOE E-ε4 , a genetic risk factor for dementia.

In particular, women with excessively central obesity had a 39 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared to non-centrally obese women.