Dementia: waist circumference shows the risk of dementia

Dementia: waist circumference shows the risk of dementia

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Connection between a wide waist and dementia

If older adults with a normal weight have a wide waist, this is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a recent study.

A recent study by Korea University in Seoul found that a wider waist in normal-weight older people may indicate an increased risk of dementia. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Obesity".

Wide waistline as a risk factor for dementia?

“When assessing the risk of dementia, the waist size of older people should also be taken into account in the future,” suggests the research team. While the study doesn't directly prove that extra fat around the waist causes dementia in healthy people, it does indicate a causal relationship.

Rates of dementia increased through wide waist

In older men with a waist of at least 90 cm and women with a circumference of at least 85 cm, the rates of dementia increased steadily along with the waist size, although overall there was a normal body mass index (BMI). The BMI, a ratio of weight to height, has been used for a long time to look for links between obesity and dementia.

Waist measurement in older people better indicator than BMI?

According to the current study, the researchers believe that the waist circumference is a better indicator of excess fat than the BMI. In particular, this counts "for older people who are of normal weight, but increasingly lose muscle and instead gain body fat without changing their overall weight," the researchers said.

How the waist size affects the risk of dementia

In the current study, normal-weight participants with so-called abdominal obesity had a significantly increased risk of dementia. In other words, older people with a normal weight but a higher waist size had a significantly higher risk of developing dementia compared to normal weight older people who had a normal waist size.

Underweight can indicate medical complaints

An increased risk of dementia in underweight people could be due to basic medical conditions. A lower BMI in older age often reflects a loss of lean muscle mass, which can indicate medical complaints or a change in eating behavior. Overweight people, on the other hand, are more likely to keep their lean muscle mass.

Treating obesity reduces the risk of dementia

The above findings could make waist size a better measure of obesity later in life than BMI. Successful breakdown of excess fat could reduce the risk of dementia.

Belly fat can indicate risk of dementia

Central obesity (belly fat) appears to be linked to the onset of dementia. According to the research team, it is important to take the waist circumference into account in order to assess an increased risk of dementia. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Geum Joon Cho, Soon Young Hwang, Kyu ‐ Min Lee, Kyung Mook Choi, Sei Hyun Baik et al .: Association Between Waist Circumference and Dementia in Older Persons: A Nationwide Population ‐ Based Study, in Obesity (query: 30.11.2019) , Obesity

Video: A Womans Journey Naples 2020: Secrets of the Brain with Neurologist Justin McArthur (September 2022).


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