Researchers have found a new link between obesity and mental decline.
The study specifically looked at middle aged people who are obese and who have high blood pressure and other metabolic risk factors such as high cholesterol, according to the BBC.
The study involved 6,401 participants and spanned 10 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. It added its findings to research that already indicated obesity as a risk factor of dementia later in life.
"The participants underwent a battery of cognitive tests at three different points in time over the 10 years," the Journal reported. The tests assessed the participants reasoning, short-term memory and "verbal fluency."
Archana Singh-Manoux, lead author of the study and research director at Inserm, told the Journal, "In the last 10 years or so, people started suggesting you could be fit and fat—you could be obese and metabolically healthy and have no health risk. All of these [obese] individuals, whether they were metabolically healthy or not healthy, had a poor cognitive profile."
Singh-Manoux told the Telegraph that while this study only focused on cognitive decline, further research suggests that exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking all help to stave off dementia. “With dementia figures spiraling towards a million, the findings suggest we should be conscious of our general health throughout life.”