Excessive body fat around the middle linked to smaller brain size

Examining the association of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with brain volume.


Carrying additional body fat, particularly around the middle, might be connected to brain shrinkage, by an investigation distributed recently. For the study, scientists determined obesity by body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip proportion in study members and found those with higher proportions of both measures had the most reduced brain volume.

Individuals with a BMI above 30.0 are viewed as obsessed. Waist-to-hip proportion is dictated by weights circumference by hip circumference. Individuals with greater paunches contrasted with their hips have higher proportions. Men above 0.90 and ladies above 0.85 are viewed as centrally fat.

The study observed  9,652 people with an average age of 55. Almost 19 percent of participants were considered as obese. Analysts estimated BMI, midriff to-hip proportion and generally speaking muscle versus fat and overviewed members about their wellbeing. Analysts at that point utilized attractive reverberation imaging to decide cerebrum volumes for white and dark mind matter and volumes in the different areas of the mind.

Gray matter contains most of the brain‘s nerve cells and includes brain regions involved in self-control, muscle control, and sensory perception. White matter contains nerve fiber bundles that connect various regions of the brain.

After adjusting for other factors that may affect brain volume, such as age, physical activity, smoking and high blood pressure, researchers found that while a high BMI alone was linked to slightly lower brain volumes, those with high BMI and waist-to-hip ratios had lower gray matter brain volumes than participants who did not have a high waist-to-hip ratio.

Specifically, researchers found that 1,291 people who had a high BMI and a high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest average gray matter brain volume of 786 cubic centimeters, compared to 3,025 people of healthy weight who had an average gray matter brain volume of 798 cubic centimeters and 514 people with a high BMI but without high waist-to-hip ratio who had an average gray matter brain volume of 793 cubic centimeters. They found no significant differences in white matter brain volume.

Study author Mark Hamer, Ph.D., of Loughborough University said, “Existing research has linked brain shrinkage to memory decline and a higher risk of dementia, but research on whether extra body fat is protective or detrimental to brain size has been inconclusive. Our research looked at a large group of people and found obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked with brain shrinkage.”

“While our study found obesity, especially around the middle, was associated with lower gray matter brain volumes, it’s unclear if abnormalities in brain structure lead to obesity or if obesity leads to these changes in the brain. We also found links between obesity and shrinkage in specific regions of the brain. This will need further research but it may be possible that someday regularly measuring BMI and waist-to-hip ratio may help determine brain health.”

The study is published in the journal Neuron.


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