Lose Belly Fat to Avoid Dementia

Belly fat is consistently linked to a variety of health problems. Now researchers say too much fat in the mid-section increases our risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research published in the Annals of Neurology warns there is a strong connection between belly fat and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Sudha Seshadri, M.D. from the Boston University School of Medicine in the US …”our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity, particularly the visceral fat component of abdominal obesity, and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease."

A 2005 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 24.3 million people have some form of dementia. Understanding the link between belly fat and dementia could be important for finding ways to prevent 4.6 million cases that the WHO also estimates occur annually.

For the study, researchers analyzed brain MRI results among 733 participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. Average age was 60 and 70 percent were women. The scientists discovered being overweight was associated with lower brain volume. More importantly belly fat was linked to lower total brain volume and was measured using CT scans.

The link between dementia and belly fat requires more study, and the findings are preliminary. The study provides “greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying the link between obesity and dementia”, concludes Dr. Seshadri.

The strongest correlation between dementia and belly fat was found among study participants with the highest waist circumference, even in younger middle-aged adults. Losing belly fat with diet and exercise could prevent dementia, diabetes, respiratory problems, and protect from stroke, found in previous studies. Lose weight and reduce your changes of dementia by starting a simple walking program. Check with your physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary.

Annals of Neurology