Overweight in Middle Age, Greater Decline

JONKOPING, Sweden, Feb. 24 (UPI) — The adverse affects of being overweight are not limited to physical function, but include cognitive decline as well, researchers in Sweden found.

Anna Dahl of Jonkoping University found people with higher midlife body mass index scores had significantly lower general cognitive ability and significantly steeper decline than their thinner counterparts over time.

These statistics were compiled from a study of Swedish twins that took place in the course of nearly 40 years, from 1963-2002; the results were the same for both men and women.

Study leader Alice M. Arnold of the University of Washington, Seattle, found such fluctuations are significant indicators of future physical limitations and mortality in the elderly.

Arnold and her colleagues used data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which included information from more than 3,000 individuals age 65 and older from 1992-1999.

The researchers also discovered a history of cyclically losing and gaining weight increased a person’s chance of having difficulty with activities of daily living — bathing, dressing, eating, etc. — by 28 percent.

The findings are published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences.

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Categorized | Food & Nutrition, History
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