Can you be overweight and healthy? Not where your brain is concerned: even “healthy” overweight people suffer from worse mental performance compared to those of normal weight.
This Is Your Brain On Obesity
Already a good while ago I wrote about a study that showed obesity may cause brain damage, as overweight people apparently suffer from more inflammations.
Now a French study looked at the data of more than 6,000 people, who were tracked over the span of ten years, with about every three years there being a test of their cognitive skills. Participants who were obese not quite surprisingly showed worse brain functioning than those of normal weight.
So far this sounds like a rehash of my earlier article and beating a dead horse, but this current study practically on the byline discovered something that is remarkable: there probably is no such thing as “overweight but healthy”.
The study had 582 participants who were obese, but of those, 233 were considered “metabolically healthy”, meaning they didn’t suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes and also had high HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In other words: on paper these obese people were as healthy as many people of normal weight.
But, as it turned out, their cognitive skills are as bad as those of people who are obese and metabolically unhealthy.
Health At Every Size?
Organizations like ASDA (“Association for Size Diversity And Health”) and HAES (“Health at Every Size”) are kidding themselves into thinking that there is a healthy form of obesity. Worse, they are actually promoting it.
If you are obese and suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, that is very likely because you are obese. But even if your doctor consistently gives you straight As in exams despite your extra pounds, there is a growing body of evidence showing that there still are consequences, just not as obvious.
Many thanks to Dr. Singh-Manoux, who was nice enough to clarify open questions I had about her paper.
Pictures courtesy of Tony Alter.