Excess belly fat may shrink your brain

Leslie Hanson
January 12, 2019

People with a high waist-to-hip ratio can be men with beer bellies or women with "muffin tops" who have slimmer hips compared to their abdomen. According to their findings, people with more excess fat around the middle appear to have a shrunken brain and less gray matter.

The study shows that "1,291 people who had a high BMI and a high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest average grey matter brain volume of 786 cubic centimetres, compared to 3,025 people of healthy weight who had an average grey matter brain volume of 798 cubic centimetres and 514 people with a high BMI but without high waist-to-hip ratio who had an average grey matter brain volume of 793 cubic centimeters". Among them, 19 per cent were found to be obese. Participants had their BMI and waist-to-hip ratio measured, and underwent an MRI to determine their brain volumes. People with both high BMI measurements and high waist-to-hip ratios, on the other hand, showed the lowest grey matter volumes.

However, those with both a high BMI and high waist-to-hip ratio had an even lower grey brain matter volume than participants who did not have a high waist-to-hip ratio. White matter contains nerve fibre bundles that connect various regions of the brain.

"Our research looked at a large group of people and found obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked with brain shrinkage", lead study author Mark Hamer, a professor at Loughborough University's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in Leicestershire, England, said in a statement. "Detox' from overly processed foods: Why and how to cut back The study's strength is its size with "a sample of nearly 10,000 individuals", wrote Bohon, who was not involved in this research". This connection between reduced brain volume and abdominal fat could suggest that inflammation and vascular factors may be at work.

They found no significant differences in brain volumes of white matter. Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

British researchers discovered less grey matter in these people, suggesting their brain had shrunk.

'The study adds to existing evidence highlighting a link between a healthy weight and a healthy brain, but the researchers didn't look at whether participants went on to develop diseases like Alzheimer's and this will need to be explored in future research'. "Obesity can have a detrimental impact on a wide range of health parameters", he wrote.

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