Expanding Waist Size Linked to
Alzheimer's Disease
Last updated June 5, 2016 (originally published May 28, 2013)
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By Susan Callahan, Health Editor and Featured Columnist




In the groggy wee hours of the early dawn when I stumble
towards that first cup of coffee, I sometimes catch my reflection
the hall mirror before the house wakes up.  It takes me a
moment before I recognize the lumpy stranger. A quick one-
eyed squint confirms the truth: I am never going to look like I
am 20 again.  That fleshy tire around my middle assures me of
that. Time to change all that. Now, here’s one more reason to
finally get into shape. Researchers have confirmed a link
between the size of your waist in your 40’s and your risk for
developing dementia twenty years later in your 60’s and 70’s.

A study from Kaiser Permanente is the latest in a drumbeat of
studies  that have identified a connection between bulging
waistlines and your mental acuity later in life.

Dr. Rachel Whitmer of Kaiser Permanente and her colleagues  
studied 10, 276 participants in the Kaiser’s health plan from
1964 to 1973 when the participants were between 40 and 45  
years old.  They logged the waist measurements of all
participants. Twenty years later, in 1994, they began to log the
incidences of dementia among the participants.





























The research uncovered a surprisingly strong correlation
between waist size in your 40’s and your risk for developing
dementia 20 years later.  

How strong was the link? Try 74%.  Of those participants with a
body mass index (BMI) over 30, they found a
74% increase in
the incidence of dementia.

BMI’s over 30 cross the line of technical obesity. But what may
have been even more surprising is that you don’t have to be
obese to put yourself at a higher risk for dementia. Simply being
overweight --- BMI between 25 and 29 --- puts you at a 35%
greater risk for dementia than people who maintain a healthy
body weight.

For women, you are a greater risk for a range of health
problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and now
dementia, once your waist size exceeds 35 inches (88.9
centimeters). For men, the healthy cut-off is 37 inches (93.98
centimeters).

A word of caution. This study only establishes an association
between expanding waist sizes and
Alzheimer's disease. It does
not definitely establish that expanding waist sizes
cause
Alzheimer's disease. Of course, women who have never strayed
an ounce from their ideal weight --- like the ex-model,
restaurateur and chef B. Smith --- can still develop Alzheimer's
disease.

[Editor's note:

Still, this study makes a powerful point that is being replicated
by other studies. A smaller study of 293 people led by Seoul
Red Cross Hospital in Seoul, Korea found that those who are
obese have a 2.2 times higher risk for developing dementia than
people of normal body weight.]

Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery to scientists. What this
study points out, for all of us, is that we need to put as many
factors as we can on our side in battling this dreadful disease.
That means watching our weight and eating
foods that help to
lower our risk for Alzheimer's too.

Related:
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Chart /

Taste Buds Can Help You Lose Weight  / Normal Waist Size for
Men and Women
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