Obesity doesn’t come calling alone; it brings physical health problems in tow. Research has shown that weighing about 20 per cent more than the normal weight for your height makes you more prone to heart disease and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, some cancers, and breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma.
But being overweight may also lead to problems related to the mind.
Putting on the extra kilos not only transforms your belly, but also alters your brain, according to a recent study that linked being overweight to poorer memory.
Research from the University of Cambridge says that overweight young adults are likely to have poor episodic memory, the ability to recall past events, as compared to their fitter counterparts.
Researchers also found an association between high body mass index (BMI) and poorer performance on a test of episodic memory.
Although only a small study, its results support existing findings that excess bodyweight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally.
The small-scale study focused on 50 participants aged between 18 and 35 years, with body mass index ranging from 18 to 51. A BMI of 18-25 is considered healthy, 25-30 overweight and more than 30 classifies you as obese.
The study tested the participants’ memory through a “treasure-hunt task”, where they were asked to hide items around complex scenes displayed on a computer over a set period of time. They then had to recall which items they had hidden, when and where. People with higher BMI performed poorer, supporting the notion that obesity is associated with poorer memory.
Obesity affects the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to memory and learning which contributes to decision-making, problem-solving and sharing emotions.
Clearly, it’s time to find a fitness routine that works for you and gets on to the path to weight loss.