A recent study finds that obesity and high blood pressure increase the risk of faster mental decline in people who are in their 50s.
The study, issued in Neurology, revealed that being obese along with other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes speed up memory loss and other cognitive skills.
The researchers from a French research institute, INSERM, and University College London studied over 6,000 people, aged between 35 and 55, over a 10-year period. Their memory loss and cognitive skills were tested three times over a decade.
About nine percent of the participants were obese and 38 percent were overweight. From 582 people with obesity, 350 or about 60 percent were metabolically abnormal, meaning they had two extra risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or were diabetic.
The researchers found that metabolically abnormal obese participants experienced a mental decline, which was 22.5 percent faster than healthy individuals.
The study author, Archana Singh-Manoux, said, “More research is needed to look at the effects of genetic factors, and also to take into account how long people have been obese and how long they have had these metabolic risk factors.”
She added that researchers should also focus on cognitive test scores spanning adulthood to show a clear understanding of the relationship between obesity and cognitive function, like thinking, reasoning and memory.