Being Overweight Could Age Your Brain

By Medscape Staff

February 09, 2022

Having excess body fat has been connected to lower scores in cognitive tests and could cause early aging of your brain, according to a group of Canadian researchers.

What to know:

  • Both the Digital Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were used to assess a range of cognitive functions in a group of 9189 participants.

  • Total body fat and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) — the fat that predominantly sits around organs in the abdominal cavity — were measured.

  • Those in the highest quartile of body fat were found to have an equivalent to an additional 3 years of cognitive aging.

  • VAT is also associated with an increased risk of many conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, breast and colorectal cancer, and Alzheimer's Disease.

  • Inflammation that is associated with being overweight or obese could play a role in why cognitive skills are affected.

  • Increased blood flow to the brain through physical exercise may be able to help limit cognitive impairment even in those with a high body mass index (BMI).

This is a summary of the article "Excess weight may accelerate brain aging" published by Medical News Today on February 4. The full article can be found on

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