Arizona Study Gets Worldwide Attention

Love it or hate it, the body mass index – or BMI – is widely used to gauge body fat and determine whether someone is overweight or obese. But a new study at the University of Arizona used BMI to determine something very different…..the health of your brain.

From the UofA study:

There are plenty of reasons it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, and now you can add one more to the list: It may be good for your brain.

Researchers from the University of Arizona have found that having a higher body mass index, or BMI, can negatively impact cognitive functioning in older adults.

How? They say inflammation is to blame.

According to NewsMax Health, inflammation “has been implicated in many deadly diseases, including Alzheimer’s and at least 10 types of cancer.” has a short video on its website explaining the University’s research results. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.

bmi listed several key takeaways from the UofA study including:

  • “The higher your BMI, the more your inflammation goes up,” said Kyle Bourassa, lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
  • The researchers say their study adds to existing literature about inflammation and cognitive decline by showing BMI has a role to play.
  • While cognitive decline is normal as one gets older, linking BMI to inflammation could help stave off the worst effects.

At the same time – a second study in the publication Neurobiology of Aging suggests being overweight ages your brain by roughly 10 years. From Fox News Health:

Extra fat may make your brain shrivel: People who are overweight show more age-related decline in their brains than lean people do.

After analyzing imaging from 527 adults, the researchers discovered overweight people—those with a body mass index (BMI) over 25—had lower volumes of white matter in their brains than people with a BMI of under 25 did. 

We often think about the physical ties we have to BMI, but these new studies want us to start thinking beyond that to how BMI might affect the brain. Share your thoughts on this research and how we might be able to use it to help Arizonans live healthier lives. After all, better health in our state takes us one step closer to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



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