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article imageA Bigger Belly Contributes To Dementia, According To Recent Study

By Nikki Weingartner     Mar 27, 2008 in Health
Having an excess middle in your 40s may increase your risk of dementia by close to 90 per cent, according to an Oakland study. Study findings were reported in Wednesday's online issue of Neurology.
People have often been categorized into shapes, such as “pear” or “apple." Researchers have found evidence that apple-shaped individuals are at greater risk of developing dementia-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s in addition to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
This study is significant because individuals who are not overweight are at risk.
Over six-thousand men and women between the ages of 40 and 45 participated in the study. Their belly size was measured during an initial checkup, which took place between 1964 and 1973.
For study purposes, a distance of 10 inches or more between the subjects back and the surface of their upper abdomen was considered excessive.
A follow-up of records was performed on the subjects when they were between the ages of 73 to 87 to see who, if any, had developed Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Over one-thousand cases of dementia were found.
Study results found:
• Participants with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia.
• Overweight people were 82 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than twice as likely if they had a high belly measurement.
• Obese people were 81 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than three times as likely if they had a high measurement.
These findings were published on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 in the online issue of the Journal Neurology by study author by Rachel Whitmer of Kaiser Permanente's Research Division.
Study skeptics caution making a direct connection to belly fat and dementia but state the results are “highly plausible”, according to Dr. Jose Luchsinger of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York who studies the Alzheimer’s link to obesity.
The results of this new study seem to fit with previous scientific findings that correlate an individuals middle age lifestyle to dementia.
It seems that whether or not one is at a HEALTHY weight, a big belly during middle-age may have a greater impact than originally believed.
General information about dementia from Mayo Clinic.
More about Dementia, Study, Belly
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