Here’s How Your Extra Weight Affects Your Brain Size
Recent studies have shown clear links between obesity and a variety of illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer. New evidence indicates that a high body mass index, or BMI, is also associated with changes in the brain that can affect memory and cognitive function. This new evidence makes it even more important for healthcare professionals and the public to tackle the growing problem of obesity in the United States.
What IS BMI?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines body mass index as a measurement that uses a person’s body weight in kilograms, divided by the square of his or her height in meters. Although this measurement does not indicate body fat directly, it can indicate the amount of fat thickness on an individual, which is linked to a number of metabolic diseases and medical problems. BMI is used as a screening tool to alert physicians of the possibility of excess weight that can cause many health issues. The BMI is not, in itself, an indication of poor health, but it can present an environment where medical problems can occur and signals doctors to provide advice and information to help their patients minimize their risk for a disease.
Body Masses Index and Body Systems
The excess weight that is indicated by high BMI levels places additional burdens on the body. Blood vessels walls must work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Additional toxins must be removed from the body by the liver and kidneys. These problems within the body can lead to a variety of cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, as well as metabolic disruptions, such as insulin resistance that can lead to type-2 diabetes. Because of these clear links to common medical issues, body mass index numbers are used, along with family history, to assess individuals’ risk of developing these diseases.
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High BMI and Its Effect on the Brain
The new studies have found that high BMI numbers can not only cause problems of heart disease, high blood glucose levels and higher risk for strokes. It also correlates to higher risks for problems with brain function.
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On both MRI and psychoneurological testing, researchers found that individuals with a high body mass index showed a decrease in gray matter in the brain, as well as a reduction in neuronal fiber bundle length. These changes are associated with a higher risk of memory loss and dementia in later years.
What You Can Do To Lower Your BMI
Lowering your BMI measurement generally means losing overall weight. You can accomplish this goal more easily if you examine your eating habits carefully and make the changes that will allow you to lose weight while still maintaining good nutrition.
Some tips for losing weight in a healthy manner include:
· Eating more fruits and vegetables.
· Eliminating processed foods.
· Reduce the amount of red meat consumed in favor of white meats, fish, beans, nuts, and eggs.
· Consume low-fat dairy products
· Reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet, as well as consume less sugar and salt
· Eat smaller portions
· Begin a regular exercise program, such as workouts at the gym, walking, running, bicycling, dancing, tennis or other activities.
Lowering your body mass index will help to ensure that you are doing all you can to promote good health and avoid the risk of both medical problems and cognitive decline.