According to the World Health Organization, the rate of obesity in the world has more than doubled since 1980.

Protect the brain – stay lean

Women Exercising Resistance Bands

According to the World Health Organization, the rate of obesity in the world has more than doubled since 1980. This will have far-reaching consequences for future health issues and unfortunately it will bring a huge financial burden as well.

Obesity brings about early-in-life chronic health issues including heart disease, strokes, orthopedic issues, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers – and all of these health issues require more doctor visits, medications, procedures and then, occasionally, in-patient hospital time, too. 

The University of Cambridge conducted a study with 463 healthy adults, ages 20 to 87. There were 150 adults who were overweight and 77 were obese. The researchers found that as body weight went up, there seemed to be some again or shrinkage of the brain. The greatest impact on the brain was in the middle years. They could not detect any cognitive impact, however, which was good news.                   

This was a small but interesting study and although it did not show cause and effect, it does underscore that excess weight may have wide ranging health implications. We already know that certain foods cause brain inflammation, resulting in dementia. So it really is not surprising that excess weight might also have an impact on the brain, especially if the food choices that cause the excess weight are unhealthy- fatty red meats, processed meats, refined carbs, and sweetened beverages that spike glucose levels.

This is a reminder to engage in activities that can help you maintain a healthy lifetime weight:

  • Enjoy a daily walk
  • prepare meals from scratch using whole foods with few processed ingredients
  • drink water, water, water

Recipes to try:


About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.