A recent study involving about two million people indicates that middle aged people who are obese or overweight are less likely to develop the problem of dementia compared to their normal and underweight counterparts.
According to the researchers, obese and overweight people were found nearly 30 percent less likely to suffer dementia 15 years later than their healthy weight peers.
On the other hand, the underweight people were 34 percent more likely to develop the memory problem compared to those people whose weight was normal.
Dr. Nawab Qizilbash, lead study author from Spain-based OXON Epidemiology Ltd., said, “The results that obese and overweight people would be protected are unexpected.”
The retrospective study was only able to show a link between overweight or obesity problem and a lowered risk of dementia. The study’s findings didn’t show a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.
For the study, the researchers collected medical records of about 20 years of nearly two million British adults with an average age of 55 (at the beginning of the study). The researchers followed the people for 15 years and found 45,500 of the participants suffered from dementia.
Qizilbash, however, cautioned people from preferring weight gain in hopes of preventing dementia.
According to the author, the findings showed a predictable rise in premature death risk from being obese or overweight.
“Even if there were to be a protective effect on dementia from being overweight or obese, you may not live long enough to get the benefit,” he said.
The findings of the study were published online on Friday in journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.