Researchers Explains How Obesity Raises Risk Of Dementia

Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and certain cancers.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, have explained how obesity, not diet or inactivity raises the risk of dementia.

According to, the researchers explained in their paper, that previous studies have found an association between a low body mass index and the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of dementia within the next five to 10 years.

The lead author of the study, Dr Sarah Floud, said other studies that lasted a decade or less have also linked poor diet and lack of exercise with the incidence of dementia. She said,

“Low body mass index, poor diet and lack of exercise may be the result of reverse causality, meaning that they may be consequences, rather than causes, of dementia. This situation could well be possible because dementia typically affects cognition a decade before the person formally receives a diagnosis.

“During the preclinical stage, the condition can slowly but gradually affect behavior, impair mental and physical activity, reduce the intake of food and calories, and cause weight loss.”

READ ALSO: Is Obesity A Disease? Dietician, Olusola Malomo Tells All You Need To Know About The Condition

The researchers examined 1,136,846 women in the United Kingdom in the study published in the journal, Neurology. The study population had an average age of 56 years and were free of dementia at the start of the study between 1996 and 2001. Dr Sarah Floud added:

“Some previous studies have suggested a poor diet or a lack of exercise may increase a person’s risk of dementia. However, our study found these factors are not linked to the long-term risk of dementia.

The short-term links between dementia, inactivity, and low-calorie intake are likely to be the result of the earliest signs of the disease before symptoms start to show.

On the other hand, obesity in midlife was linked with dementia 15 or more years later. Obesity is a well-established risk factor for a cerebrovascular disease which contributes to dementia later in life.”

READ ALSO: WHO Issues Guidelines To Reduce Risk Of Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that disrupts a person’s ability to function independently.

The early signs of the disease may be forgetting recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s disease will develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. An early sign of the disease is usually difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, memory impairments worsen and other symptoms develop.

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