Obesity Linked with Smaller Brain Size

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Obesity is bad for your brain.

A new study finds that obese people have brains that eight percent smaller than thin people and those brains look 16 years older.

Live Science.com reports that this condition makes it harder to think and puts people at greater risk for Alzheimer's and other diseases.

The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent "severe brain degeneration," said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.

"That's a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer's and other diseases that attack the brain," said Thompson. "But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control."

Another study finds that extremely obese people, those who are at least 80 or more pounds over their normal weight, live three to 12 years shorter than people with normal weight.

USA Today reports the finding adds to the growing evidence that being severely overweight takes years off of lives.

According to the newspaper, obesity accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998.

Sources: LiveScience.com, USA Today

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