Although you may worry about your weight for superficial or general health reasons, there’s a new threat to overweight middle-aged or aging women – dementia. Recent studies show that gaining too much weight or carrying too much weight on your body is a risk factor for women when it comes to dementia.
Findings in Obesity and Dementia Studies
Doctors have spent a lot of time researching the link between obesity and dementia. This is a definite change from the past. It used to be standard to not encourage elderly overweight or obese patients to lose weight, since it was believed that there was little damage left for excess weight to do. However, these studies have given doctors a new reason to encourage people of all ages to maintain a healthy weight.
One study examined the link between post-menopausal women and their memory performance, an early indicator for your risk of dementia. As women were classified as more and more overweight on the BMI scale, their memory suffered accordingly. The study contends that there is a link between obesity, memory and brain functioning that persists among women of all different backgrounds.
Another recent study focuses on the examination of FTO, an obesity-related gene. The gene affects your BMI, metabolism and risk for diabetes. Interestingly enough, each of these factors also plays a role in later development of Alzheimer’s disease. Further study of this gene and comparison of its presence in people has shown that if you have a certain variant of this gene, you are more than 50% more likely than those without the gene to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
One last study takes into account the waist-to-hip ratio, an important figure for determining body shape and some types of obesity. Women with a high waist-to-hip ratio were shown to be two times more likely than those with lower ratios to develop dementia in their elderly years.
As more studies come out, the link between obesity or being overweight and dementia becomes stronger. If this worries you, you may be wondering, what can you do to minimize your risk for dementia?
What You Can Do to Avoid Dementia
The obvious solution is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Some factors cannot be controlled. For instance, if you have a high waist-to-hip ratio, you will probably stay close to that ratio no matter how thin you become. But there are things you can control, such as your overall weight and body fat percentage.
Try to get exercise on a daily basis, and do so with a variety of cardio exercise and strength training to keep your body fit and in a healthy weight and fat range. By doing so, you’ll minimize your risk for developing dementia in later years. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned. They can recommend a diet and exercise plan that will help you keep your weight down and keep you out of the risk group for dementia.