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Obesity May Linked to Brain Shrinkage

We live in a time and age where lifestyle and nutrition are being highly emphasized due to unhealthy eating and living habits. Nowadays, people eat a lot of junk food because it’s affordable and readily available. To make it worse, some people will start adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet only to give up midway and go back to their old bad eating habits. This is why obesity is a major concern in today’s society.

It’s been widely acknowledged by different health specialists that obesity can affect your heart’s health and put you at a bigger risk of getting a stroke. On top of that, there seem to be new claims that obesity could also affect your brain’s health. Scientists and doctors have now made an inconclusive claim that obesity may be linked to brain shrinkage.

A recent study in the UK had involved about 9652 participants that were aged 55 years on average. Here is what was tested and recorded in the end:

1. Accurate Measurements

Before getting started, the scientists had to make sure that the measurements taken for input data were accurate enough so as to minimize on any sort of error. This means that they had to take down the waist-to-hip ratio, the body mass index (BMI) and the total body fat for each individual. This was made successful through dividing the waist circumference by the hip circumference for the waist-to-hip ratio, and by dividing the weight by the square height for the BMI. Those with a BMI of 30 and above were considered to be obese while men with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.9 and above, and women with 0.85 were also considered to fall under the obese category. Their brains were later tested by an MRI scan which was used to examine both white and gray brain matter.

2. Changes in Gray Matter

The obtained results showed a significant relationship between body fat and brain size. It was recorded that the patients with a higher waist-to-hip ratio as well as BMI had the lowest brain volume in general. Those found to have a higher BMI were also discovered to have a slight drop in the brain volume as compared to those with proper BMI levels. A large number of about 1291 people discovered with both a high waist-to-hip ratio as well as BMI was recorded with the lowest gray matter brain volume. This was an average of 786cm3. The gray matter brain volume found on those with healthy weights was recorded to be 798cm3. On the other hand, 793cm3 of grayscale was recorded for those with a high BMI, but a right or healthy waist-to-hip ratio.

3. Overall Decision

The scientists and professors behind the experiment later determined that obesity that was specifically situated in the middle part of the body was more likely to be linked to brain shrinkage. Even though these results show a high likelihood that body fat does affect brain size, more research needs to be done.


Living a healthy and fit lifestyle is one of the best and sure ways of being healthy and free from illnesses and diseases. We have always known that being obese can affect your heart. Now, there’s evidence that shows that it could make your brain smaller and limit cognitive functions. We need to have more research on the relation between body fat and brain size so as to accurately advice the public at large on healthier ways of living.

The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.