Yet Another Reason to Lose Weight

As if overweight people didn’t have enough health scares, here’s yet another compelling reason to lose weight: obesity ages the brain prematurely.

According to a newly released study, the brains of people who are obese look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals and it has 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. In people who are simply overweight (BMI over 25), the brain has aged prematurely by 8 years, and they have 4 percent less brain tissue than people of normal weight.

The study was based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s. Senior study author Paul Thompson, a UCLA professor of neurology, characterizes the results as severe brain degeneration

“That’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain,” said Thompson in an interview with Yahoo Health. “But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control.”

The negative health effects of obesity already known include increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some cancers.

Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, with more than 300 million people classified as obese, and another billion as overweight. According to experts, the main reason for the obesity epidemic is bad diet, particularly reliance on highly processed foods. Natural weightloss is often achieved simply by avoiding highly processed foods.

The research jointly funded by the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Center for Research Resources, and the American Heart Association.

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