It’s normal to gain a little weight as we age. Metabolism slows down, our hormones change, and we just aren’t as active as we once were. Combating slow weight gain as quickly as possible is important as new research has found that obesity can lead to several health issues as we age, including heart disease and diabetes.
There is an important link between weight gain and the thinning of the cortical lining of the brain, and science has shown that the thinner the cortex the greater risk we have of developing Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Having a healthy body weight is important to stave off the thinning of the cortex. Based on what science already knew about the cerebral cortex, Dr. Tatjana Rundek, Scientific Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, set out to prove that obesity was linked to cortical thinning and brain atrophy.
Rundek and her team conducted a study of 1289 people to compare their body weight and brain structure over a period of time. Participants’ BMI and waist circumference were measured at the start of the study and at the six-year mark. Their brains were scanned using MRI to measure the thickness of the cortex and brain volume.
To start the study, 571 people had BMIs that were considered overweight and 371 people considered obese. At the end of the study, Dr. Rundek confirmed her theory that the participants with the higher BMIs had thinner cerebral cortex measurements. Taking into consideration other factors that can thin the cortex such as high blood pressure, alcohol use and smoking, the results still revealed a measurably thinner cortex for obese and overweight individuals.
This was especially strong in people younger than 65, which could be good news. It means we can make changes in mid-life that significantly impact the health of our brains later on. According to Dr. Rudek, “These results are exciting because they raise the possibility that by losing weight people may be able to stave off aging of their brains and potentially the memory and thinking problems that come with brain aging.” It also raises the alarm of a potential health risk as this increasingly obese population ages.
Given these results, it is important for us to make sustainable changes to our health regimen. You can start today, and it can be easier and more natural than you ever believed possible. Managing your weight isn’t just about looking better–although that is a great motivation for some people. Having healthy, normal weight has a direct impact on the quality of your life now and as we age. Simple steps are all we need to increase our ability to lose weight and maintain our brains into the future.
If you’re struggling to lose weight and make healthy changes to your lifestyle, we’re here to help. Our Weight Wellness bundle was designed to help you approach a healthy lifestyle in an easy and natural way. We give you the tools you need to change your relationship with food, motivate yourself to exercise, manage stress, and get the best sleep of your life–and in the process, you’ll preserve precious brain tissue to keep your brain active as you age.
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