Study Finds Link Between High Waist-To-Hip Ratio And Smaller Brains

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Overweight people have smaller brains, study suggests

People with a BMI above 30.0 are considered obese. Study Did Not Prove Causal Link The study, nonetheless, found only an association between lower brain volume and belly fat.

Lower brain volume, or brain shrinkage, has been linked with an increased risk of memory decline and dementia.

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.

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Links were also found between obesity and shrinkage in specific regions of the brain.

Their brain may already have shrunk, causing them to pile on weight after losing grey matter in the brain regions which help to control your appetite and feel full.

Of the 9,652 people studied, 19 per cent were determined to be obese. It was found that almost one in five of the participants were found to be obese.

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Specifically, people with both a high BMI and high waist-to-hip ratio had an average gray matter volume of 786 cubic centimetres, compared with 793 cubic centimetres for people with a high BMI but not a high waist-to-hip ratio; and 798 cubic centimetres for people of a healthy weight.

Among people with higher BMIs, those with thicker waists had lower grey matter brain volumes than those who were slimmer round the middle.

Dr Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'While BMI can be a crude measure and not necessarily a good indication of our general health, this research suggests that taking a person's waist-to-hip ratio into account may provide additional information that could be relevant to the health of the brain. Participants had their BMI and waist-to-hip ratio measured, and underwent an MRI to determine their brain volumes. All of these brain regions are involved in motivation and reward. Low-carb diets might be best for maintaining weight loss, study says Because the cause of a connection between brain volume and obesity is still unclear, perhaps something may be causing both, she wrote: "For example, if there are nutritional factors impacting brain volume, these same nutritional factors could be a direct cause of obesity". In the study, scientists compared body mass index (BMI) measurements as well as waist-to-hip ratio recordings taken between 2006 and 2010.

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