Memory and body shape

A woman’s body shape may influence how good her memory is, according to US researchers. Although carrying excess weight anywhere appears to impair older women’s brains, carrying it on the hips may make matters worse, they say.
The Northwestern Medicine team found “apple-shaped” women fared better than “pears” on cognitive tests.But depositing fat around the waist increases the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, experts warn.
They said the findings, in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for both body and mind.
Some of the health risks associated with obesity, such as vascular disease and inflammation, may explain why people who are overweight appear to be at higher risk of dementia.
The study involved 8,745 post-menopausal women aged 65 to 79.
These women were asked to complete a memory test that doctors use to judge brain function. They were also weighed and their BMI calculated. BMI. Over two-thirds of the women were overweight or obese.
The researchers found that for every one point increase in a woman’s BMI, her memory score dropped by one point. And pear-shaped women – those with smaller waists but bigger hips – scored particularly poorly.
The researchers say this is likely to be related to the type of fat deposited around the hips versus the waist. Different kinds of fat may release different hormones and have varying effects on insulin resistance, lipids and blood pressure.
BBC web site

Martin Eastwood
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