Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. However, researchers have found that harmful body fat contributes to dementia and stroke.
Analyzing grey brain matter of 2800 individuals, demonstrated that increased body fat leads to increased atrophy of grey matter in the brain and thereby higher risk of declining brain health.
The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.
“While the disease burden of obesity has increased over the past five decades, the complex nature of the disease means that not all obese individuals are metabolically unhealthy, which makes it difficult to pinpoint who is at risk of associated diseases, and who is not.
Being overweight commonly increases the chance of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and low-grade inflammation, but being aware of how much you’re at risk helps you get direct supports.
It was established from the research that people with higher levels of obesity had much lower levels of grey brain matter, suggesting that these people may have compromised brain function which needed further investigation.
“It is increasingly appreciated that obesity is a complex condition, and that especially excess fat which is located around the internal organs have particularly harmful effects on health,” Professor Hyppönen says.