Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and various other health issues, and now overweight people can add increasing cognitive decline to the list.
Researchers in Britain recently examined thousands of British citizens over a one decade period and found a “strong link” between obesity and the rate of mental decline. The average age of patients was 50-years-old.
According to the BBC, researchers asked patients to take memory and other cognitive tests three times over the 10 year period. Researchers claim:
“Everyone experiences a decline in mental abilities with aging, but it was as if the obese group were seven years older.”
Researchers noted that the decline in cognition occurred even in patients who did not suffer from high blood pressure or other risk factors. The discovery counters a belief that a person “could be obese and metabolically healthy and have no health risk.”
The Wall Street Journal highlighted an important part of the studies belief that high blood-sugar affects the brain while fat tissue could cause hormonal imbalances that cause harm.
The study also noted that obese people are less likely to be active and that exercise has been shown to slow down cognitive decline.
While cognitive decline usually starts to become noticeable around the age of 60, researchers found that obese people can experience declines by the age of just 45.
The decline comes out to a rate of 22.5 percent faster than normal weight people.
With more than 25 percent of many countries now considered obese, the early onset of cognitive decline is worrisome.