Researchers continue to discover new effects of weight on overall health. Most recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society has shown that obesity may diminish cognitive function in women as they age.
A study conducted at Northwestern University analyzed the blood pressure, height, weight and waist and hip circumference of 8,745 women between the ages 65 and 79 years old. The women were also asked about their health and lifestyles and tested for dementia and overall cognitive function.
While all of the women in the study were reported to be in the normal range for cognitive function, women with a higher body mass index (BMI) did worse on cognitive function tests than women with a BMI in the normal weight range. For every one point increase in BMI, participants scored an average one percent lower on memory tests. In addition, women who had larger hip circumferences, or pear-shaped women, showed greater memory loss than women who carried their excess weight at their waistline, commonly referred to as apple-shaped.
According to Dr. Diana Kerwin, this study's findings indicate that, "If you maintain your ideal body weight, it’s not only good for your general well-being, but it’s also good for your brain health as you get older."