Project Body Smart | Studies Link Obesity to Smaller Brains


Studies Link Obesity to Smaller Brains

Being obese means having a bigger body, of course. But research indicates it also means having a smaller brain.

“An obese person’s brain is 8 percent smaller than a lean person’s brain,” Martin Pazzani says. Martin is the founder of Activate Brain & Body, a startup that studies brain-body fitness and promotes exercise among mature adults. He also is a former chief marketing officer of Bally Total Fitness.

Several studies in recent years have addressed the link between obesity and brain health.

“Obesity may also affect cognitive function” including a higher risk of developing dementia, the National Institute of Health reported.

“The more we understand about (body fat), the clearer it becomes that belly fat is its own disease-generating organism,” said Dr. Lenore Launer in an NIH statement.

Time magazine shared another study that suggests eliminating excess fat can improve brain function — and that exercise can reverse brain damage that was possibly caused by fat. Obese adults are 35 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

Eating right and staying at a healthy weight are good for brain health. And, as Martin points out, exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Count this as one more reason to take better care of yourself through a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

Your body and your brain are depending on it.

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