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Being overweight leads to lower risk of dementia

By Tim Sandle     Apr 10, 2015 in Health
In one of the most bizarre health related studies of the year so far, a research group have found that people who are overweight have a lower chance of developing dementia when older compared to people who are thinner.
The findings, which are based on a widespread and long-term study, turn accepted health wisdom on its head. The study was based on an examination of almost two million people in the U.K. The research was a collaboration between Oxon Epidemiology and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The research uncovered a number of interesting correlations:
Underweight people have a 39 percent higher risk of developing dementia compared with people of a "healthy weight."
Overweight people had an 18 percent reduction in dementia compared with people of a healthy weight.
People categorized as obese had a 24 percent reduction in the risk of developing dementia compared with those of a healthy weight.
Commenting on the study, lead researcher Dr Nawab Qizilbash, told the BBC: "The controversial side is the observation that overweight and obese people have a lower risk of dementia than people with a normal, healthy body mass index."
He also added: "That's contrary to most if not all studies that have been done, but if you collect them all together our study overwhelms them in terms of size and precision."
As to the reasons for these trends, the researchers are unsure. On theory is that vitamin D and E deficiencies are associated with dementia and that people who eat more are less likely to have these deficiencies. Natural foods high in vitamin D include fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Foods rich in vitamin E include plant oils, like soya, corn and olive oil. Other sources include: nuts and seeds. wheat germ (from cereal products.)
The findings have been published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. The research paper is titled "BMI and risk of dementia in two million people over two decades: a retrospective cohort study."
Although the study draws conclusions between body mass index and neuro-degenerative diseases, it should not be forgotten that being overweight carries with it health risks such as those pertaining to heart attacks and diabetes.
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