Does Your Waist Size Put you at a Higher Risk for Dementia?

In the November 2019 issue of Obesity, a comprehensive study was published. It focused on the link between large waistlines and the potential for early-onset dementia, specifically in adults with a healthier weight. The findings may shock some but come at no surprise to others as, it’s true, being a little thicker around the middle can represent a higher risk of dementia development. However, there’s more to the story than this. Let’s dive in and explore the study in more detail!

How the Calculations Were Made

The study published in the issue of Obesity focused on the body mass index, otherwise known as BMI. This is a measurement consisting of weight and height calculations, used to determine the amount of excess body fat an individual possesses. The study was carried out via a screening exam in South Korea that spanned the entire nation. Nearly 500,000 people over age 65 were examined overall as seniors tend to lose muscle and replace it with fat. 

6.5 years after their BMI results were collected, 13 percent of them had been diagnosed with dementia.

Who is Specifically at Risk?

While there are a number of variables to consider including mental health, preexisting health issues and diet, the study indicates that among the men with healthy BMI values, they experienced an increased risk of developing dementia as their waistline expanded past 35.5 inches. In that sense, eating healthy appears to literally save the mind from hardship later on, so shifting towards a balanced and nutrient-rich diet is a smart, proactive step to take. The findings indicate that even if we have a healthy BMI value, it’s the size of our waist that better indicates the risk of dementia. 

Is Eating Healthy Enough?

There’s no way to 100-percent eliminate the risk of developing dementia but, if you follow a healthy and balanced diet that keeps your waistline slim, your chances are better at avoiding complications later in life. This is especially important during menopause and as we enter our senior years since the body undergoes many changes during this period. Here is when muscle loss begins and fat cells begin to accumulate, so empowering your body to control them efficiently is important. 

All in all, this study further clarifies the importance of being good to ourselves physically, as doing so now can save us a lot of headaches and pain later. Watching your waistline clearly isn’t just about the latest fashions!

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