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A Bigger Belly Could Lead to a Smaller Brain

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

bigger belly brain shrinkage link

Story at-a-glance -

  • Carrying excess weight around your midsection may affect your brain health, even leading to a concerning decline in brain volume
  • Brain shrinkage, in turn, increases your risk of memory loss and other cognitive problems
  • Participants with a body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in a healthy range had an average gray matter brain volume of 798 cubic centimeters; this dropped to 786 cubic centimeters among those with a high BMI and high WHR
  • In 2010, researchers also found belly fat is associated with lower brain volume among healthy middle-aged adults

Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is often viewed as an aesthetic problem, but if you're carrying extra weight around your middle your physical health, including that of your brain, could be at risk.

Excess belly fat is already well-known to play a starring role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Even in people who aren't obese, excess belly fat increases the risk of death from cardiovascular problems. The risks of belly fat, however, do not stop there.


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