Researchers have shown that having a bit more fat on your body seems to increase your brain’s appearance by 10 years. The difference is in the white matter which increases when you’re younger, but decreases as you age.
The researchers have shown that this decrease in white matter depends on your BMI. BMI is used as an indicator of obesity for the “average person”. It does not take into account that fact that someone could be an athlete or have some extra muscle on them.
“The overall message is that brains basically appear to be 10 years older if you are overweight or obese,” said Lisa Ronan
However she was quick to point out the fact that this is correlation and does not imply causation. “It could be that the genes that are responsible for obesity could also be responsible for smaller brains, or it could be that if you have a brain change that could lead to overeating,” she said.
Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The relationship between obesity and dementia is complex and studies on the subject have shown contradictory results. While this new research indicates that obesity may have an impact on how the brain ages, it does not show a link between obesity and increased risk of memory and thinking problems.”