Obesity and Brain Power: Mind over Body or Body over Mind?

Obesity research gets odder all the time, so that sorting out the logical advice gets muddled some of the time! In 2004 Filozof et all in Obesity Review proposed that the obesity epidemic began when patients began to stop smoking in great numbers. (I wonder if this is why in Europe women are still thin! In Poland at least 25% of women still smoke.) The current buzz as of 2013 is that obesity shouldn't just be categorized by BMI, but graded. If you are a BMI of 18-25 you are normal, grade 1 obesity is 30-34.9, grade 2 is 35-39, and grade 3 is greater than 40. These BMI designations hold for Caucasians, and Asians have the same overall risk factors at lower levels, African Americans have more muscle and denser bones and actually can carry a bit more weight, but these categories are still relatively useful. JAMA published a January 2013 study that showed those with grade 1 obesity as a group had less mortality than those who were overweight at 25-29, was a bigger really better? This study didn't look at living well, just living. But remember there is so much more to the puzzle. There is a link between the fat of our waist and the sluggishness of our brain. In a report in 2009 a group of Texas A and M researchers linked obesity to brain shrinkage.
Obesity and Brain Shrinkage Not only that, but even the overweight group had smaller brains than the group that was in the normal weight category, and yet their brains were greater in size than the obese patients. So does size matter: apparently yes if we are talking about our brains. Not only was the memory section of our brain affected, but the eating control center may be affected. And we know for overall risk of cardiovascular disease, which affects the thinking due to blood flow compromise the newest studies says it's not your BMI category as much as your waist. In a recent report coming by Dr. Coutinho from the Mayo Clinic, reported int the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that fat around our waist, whether you have a normal weight is the greatest risk of dying of heart disease.  So perhaps this is one cause of the cycle that women report in menopause of gaining, leading to more gaining, especially in the waist, and an inability to turn this around. I would like to see if shrinking the body swells the brain back to it's normal robust, and if shrinking the waist, even for the normal weight woman, and fully thinking through brain processing to be our 'old' self!


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