Obesity And The Brain

Researchers recently announced a finding that obesity in early or mid life may be linked to a risk of dementia in old age. In particular, people who are obese in their 30s now have triple the chance of being among the 115 million people public health experts estimate will be living with dementia by the year 2050. The obesity-dementia connection is not itself new, but it was not previously recognized that the age at which someone is obese makes a difference in the effect obesity has on dementia risk.

Obesity is associated with a number of other health problems as well, It is linked with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, as the name suggests, is a deficiency in the body’s ability to properly use insulin to normalize levels of sugar in the bloodstream, can cause type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also a factor for other illnesses, such as scleroderma and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. In addition, obese people are more prone to infertility, and pregnancy complications. Several cancers are also more common in obese people.

That’s why obesity prevention is so important. One of the best ways to do this is to eat healthy, but this is easier said than done. Experts suggest that people can maintain a better diet by paying attention, such as by keeping food diary and becoming aware of "e;eating triggers"e; that leas them to turn to food for reasons other than to alleviate hunger. Another thing that helps is to make healthy food, particularly healthy snacks, available—fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and chips. Exercise is another good way to lose weight, but it is important for people to start slow, both to avoid injury and to avoid getting discouraged and quitting.

One of the best ways to lose weight is to find a group. Mutually accountability can really help people stick to a diet and exercise plan. However, this comes with a caveat: studies have found the group is at its most cohesive early on in the program. This isn’t necessarily due to jealousy as people progress at different rates; even when everyone in the group is making reasonably steady progress, as the goal is in sight and confidence builds, group members simply feel the need for support less. This doesn’t necessarily lead to acrimony, but it does sap interest.

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