Expanding Waistline Can Age Your Brain

Photo by esolla / Shutterstock.com

If you are middle-aged and carrying around extra weight, be warned: Being overweight or obese can age your brain by 10 years.

That’s according to new research from the University of Cambridge in England, which revealed that individuals who are overweight — with a body mass index above 25 — in middle age have brains with less white matter than their thinner counterparts.

In fact, that brain structure — with its shrinking white matter — is similar to what’s seen in people at least a decade older. According to a press release:

Our brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognizing that obesity — already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — may also affect the onset and progression of brain ageing.

The study, which is based on brain scans of 473 individuals between the ages of 20 and 87, is published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. In the press release, Paul Fletcher, the senior author of the report, says:

“The fact that we only saw these differences from middle-age onwards raises the possibility that we may be particularly vulnerable at this age. It will also be important to find out whether these changes could be reversible with weight loss, which may well be the case.”

White matter tissue helps different regions of the brain communicate. It typically increases during youth and decreases with age, says an article in The Guardian. Loss of white matter has been linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

Mike Henne, a spokesman for the American Federation for Aging Research, told WebMD that loss of white matter is often associated with “foggy-mindedness.”

“If you lose white matter, the [brain’s] neurons are not as capable of communicating with each other,” said Henne.

However, in this study, researchers found no link between a smaller volume of white matter and reduced cognitive abilities in overweight individuals.

“We don’t yet know the implications of these changes in brain structure,” says study co-author Sadaf Farooqi, of the Wellcome Trust–Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge.

What do you think of the study’s findings? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier
12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier

These products on Amazon will ease worries and simplify your routine.

10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

Sometimes it’s simply safer to keep the plastic tucked away.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy. Here’s where I shop for these items instead of a warehouse club.

Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card
Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card

Before you spend another dollar on items and services like these, check with your public library.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already
11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already

Never keep these items past their prime.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them
10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them

How many of the foods have you thought to put in the freezer?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.