The Dangers of Midlife Weight Gain

As the birthdays increase in number, “middle age spread” creeps up on most people, even though you may be eating and exercising exactly as you always have. Unfortunately, being overweight has absolutely no health benefits and it does significantly increase the risk of all types of health problems.

According to recently published reports from the American Academy of Neurology, not only does being overweight increase the risk of heart attack, it may also increase the risk of dementia in old age. More than half the adult population in the U.S. is overweight or obese and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia worldwide threatens an incredible 1.6 billion people.

Even small increases in body weight during midlife were found to significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you need a medical incentive to lose weight, then read on!

The Benefits of Losing Weight at Midlife
The good news is that making the effort to lose those extra pounds will significantly lower your risk of heart attack as well as minimizing the risk of dementia in later life. Those are two great reasons to reassess your diet and exercise regimen and make a promise to change to a healthier lifestyle.

Study on Twins
An interesting study on 8,500 sets of twins on the Swedish Twins Registry monitored their height, weight and body mass index (BMI) over a 30-year period. The results were then compared with the incidents of dementia for those in the group over the age of 65.

The study showed that those with a BMI above 25 (classified as overweight) were 80% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia than those with a normal body weight and BMI below 25.

Abdominal Fat Increases the Risk of Dementia and Heart Attack
Those who are “apple shaped” and put on even modest weight gain around their stomach consistently show an increased risk of heart disease. The result of studies on 16,000 patients with coronary heart disease showed that those with fat around their abdomen, even if they were not actually overweight, were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than people who carried fat in other body areas, such as on the hips, buttocks and thighs.

Fat deposits around the waist are particularly likely in those who have a diet that is high in wheat, sugar and high fructose corn syrup. This visceral fat around the vital organs is also connected with higher incidents of diabetes, hypertensions and raised triglycerides.

Visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat (the layer of fat below the skin all over the body) has been found to produce hormones that are responsible for diabetes and insulin resistance. The medical term for this phenomenon is metabolic syndrome.

This visceral fat is partly due to our genetic makeup and lifestyle, but however you view it, the fat is caused by eating more calories than are being used up. Women with waist measurements over 35 inches and men with waist measurements over 40 inches are particularly at risk.

By losing weight through dieting and exercise, visceral fat, waist measurements, blood pressure and insulin resistance can all be dramatically lowered, along with the risk of dementia. Today is the day to make a start on a new healthier lifestyle!

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