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A Big Belly Boosts Your Risk of Dementia

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A big belly in your 40’s can boost your risk of Alzheimer’s disease decades later.

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Previous research has already shown that obesity raises your chances of developing dementia, but a new study found a separate risk from storing fat in your abdomen. Even people who weren’t overweight were endangered.

Abdominal fat, sometimes described as making people apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Now dementia can be added to that list.

The study involved over 6,500 people who were monitored for an average of 36 years. Compared to people with normal body weight and a low belly measurement, people with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia. And the risk increased among overweight and obese people with high belly measurements.

It’s not known why abdominal fat may promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm your brain, the researchers said.

Sources: Neurology March 26, 2008

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