From the Lips to the Hips to the Brain

First they tell us it’s healthy to have a larger derriere, now research says it will adversely affect our memory.

Photo by Vitaliy KalyniukRecent research is confusing everybody lately with all these contradicting studies. I think I’m safe from developing dementia because I have a big head and that’s a good thing; I work hard to keep my spare tire from inflating and then I’m told that a large middle will help protect me from Alzheimer’s. Then I think, well if I cultivate a large derriere then I’m safe because I’m supposed to live longer; but now research says that this can increase plaque in the brain which leads to Alzheimer’s. So what do you believe?

Let’s take a look at this most recent study. There were 8,745 overweight and obese menopausal women aged from 65 to 79 who participated in this study. Each subject was measured for BMI and given a memory test. There was an alarming correlation between the subject’s BMI and memory function to the degree that for every one point increase in BMI there was a one point drop in the subject’s memory score. Those ladies with a pear-shaped figure fared worse on cognitive tests than their apple-shaped counterparts.

The conclusion: fat found around the waist is different from that found on the hips. Yes, not all fats are equal. Some contain different hormones and affect insulin resistance, lipids and blood pressure differently than others.

“The fat may contribute to the formation of plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease or a restricted blood flow to the brain,” Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.

Estrogen is thought to be instrumental in improving memory and cognition. This hormone is found in high levels in fat found around the waist, yet having a spare tire is supposed to be an indicator of life-threatening diseases like heart attacks and diabetes. When these fatty deposits accumulate on the hips more than the waist, it can negatively affect a woman’s cognitive function later in life, after menopause. While gaining weight and losing one’s memory are symptoms of menopause, this seems to make sense. Just one more thing to look forward to.

While we can’t do anything to change the body shapes we were born with, we can maintain a healthy lifestyle to promote longevity and stave off fat, whether it’s around your waist or your hips. The message is still the same – stay active and eat healthy, my friends.

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