Abdominal fat increases dementia risk

May 20, 2010 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Abdominal fat increases dementia risk
People with high levels of abdominal fat could be at a greater risk of developing dementia later in life, new research reports.

To investigate, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine recruited participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. Study participants included over 700 people who had a mean age of 60 years.

Researchers examined the association between Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, CT-based measures of abdominal fat, and various brain measurements, including MRI measures of total brain volume, temporal horn volume, white matter hyperintensity volume and brain infarcts in the middle-aged participants.

They found that people with the highest levels of visceral fat - the fatty tissue surrounding the organs - also had the smallest total brain volume, a risk factor for dementia.  Not surprisingly excess abdominal fat is often associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as diabetes - all major risk factors for dementia.

While these latest findings confirm a strong connection between abdominal obesity and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life, further studies are needed.  The findings were published in the Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 1 in 11, or about ½ a million, Canadian adults over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.  Women make up 72% of all cases of Alzheimer's disease in Canada.

Read all about how your food choices can help lower your risk, and manage symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in Leslie Beck's fully revised and recently re-released book, The Complete A-Z Nutrition Encyclopedia.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.