©Arlene R. Taylor PhD
Type the word memory into a search engine and a plethora of studies pop up. Some contain information that many are familiar with already. For example, obesity is associated with an increased risk for health problems and a decrease in life expectancy.
Other studies contain startling tidbits that are beginning to make a connection with a variety of health concerns. Your waist measurement, for example. Turns out that as your waist size grows, so does your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Now, emerging research is making a potential correlation between waist measurement and your risk for a decrease in your memory and other cognitive functions.
The research related to females and obesity is especially frightening. Obesity, especially in older women, appears to be associated with poorer memory and a decline in brain function. In one study for example, researchers found that for every one-point increase in a woman’s BMI, her memory score dropped by one point (e.g., the women were scored on a 100-point memory test known as the Modified Mini-Mental Status Examination).
How do you know if excess body fat has accumulated around your waist? Look in the mirror. You may not see yourself as you really are, however. Consequently, a measurement known as a BMI (body mass index) is often used. Pear-shaped women (e.g., those who carry excess weight around their hips) have a higher risk for memory problems (as compared to the apple-shaped women who carry excess weight around their waists).
Obviously, you can’t change where your body chooses to store fat. But having less fat is better for your brain. Furthermore, there is usually something you can do about excess body fat. The short message is that obesity and a higher BMI are not good for either your memory or your cognitive (thinking) brain function.
Most people know that excess sugar consumption can be a direct route to weight gain. Because of this, some have turned to diet drinks. Think again! Diet drinks can cause obesity. A recent study followed 400 diet-soda drinkers for ten years. Their waist size increased 70% more than non-diet-drink consumers over that decade. Those who drank two or more diet sodas per day increased their waist sizes five times more than non-consumers. Lose all sodas, especially diet drinks. While diet sodas may be free of calories, they are not free of negative consequences.
What do you drink?
I go for pure water, especially alkaline water. Next to that, I make certain to include a pink-green cocktail every day. For me that’s delta-E™ and EnerPrime™—in water. That’s part of my strategy for maintaining a decent and more healthful waist measurement. Plus I get Vitamin B-12 for my brain (but that discussion will have to wait for another day).
If your BMI is between 25 and 30 kg/m2, you are considered to be overweight and pre-obese.
If you BMI is greater than 30 kg/m2, you are considered to have arrived (along with many other individuals) at a condition of obesity.
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.
- World Health Organization: The World Health Report 2000 (http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/)
- Haslam, D. W., and W. P. James. Obesity. Lancet 366 (9492): 1197–1209, 2005.