Being Obese / Overweight Protects Against Dementia In The Elderly

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    Another example of the "obesity paradox", this time the authors themselves call the extra weight being protective and it was not something deduced by the public by reading the study.

    Dramatic decline in dementia seen among older adults in the US
    "...One possible factor is education. The older adults in the 2012 group in the new study had, on average, about one year more education than the 2000 group. More education can produce greater cognitive reserve, in which people have enough backup synapses and neurons that losing some to Alzheimer’s still leaves them short of dementia. But the researchers found this didn’t explain the entire decline. Curiously, being overweight or obese was associated with a decreased risk of dementia. Carrying excess pounds generally raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease, which are thought to increase the risk of dementia, but “late-life obesity may be protective,” wrote commentary authors Ozioma C. Okonkwo and Dr. Sanjay Asthana of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. That may be especially true when people receive effective treatments for diabetes and heart disease, which also became more common with later generations."
     
  2. raypeatclips

    raypeatclips Member

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    Why do you think being overweight has positives? In the last interview of Peat's I got clips from, he mentions how fat cells in the body produce estrogen, and specifically says about if people are overweight. From that I assumed that being overweight was very negative.
     
  3. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    I think being overweight in older age is probably preferable to being skinny, as higher weight typically correlates with higher metabolism. In younger years, being overweight or obese is probably not good for you most of the time but even in younger people being overweight/obese is associated with a lot lower risk of dying during surgery. I guess it comes down again to what is the lesser evil, as most normal weight people nowadays are really not healthy. They lose weight through dieting and exhaustive exercise, which ruins their metabolism. So, the obese/overweight people are less metabolically deranged than the skinny/catabolic zombies. If you eat to appetite, do not exercise, and stay below 30 BMI you are probably in better health than somebody who trains 7 days a week, has BMI of 22 and gets fat even from drinking plain water or eating more than one lettuce leaf daily.
    Bottom line is this - because weight nowadays is manipulated artificially through exercise, dieting, etc. being skinny no longer means being healthy of having good metabolism. In fact, as these studies are showing, the opposite seems to be true.
     
  4. Westside PUFAs

    Westside PUFAs Member

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    Here's three studies that contradict yours:

    "After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1449 individuals (73%) aged 65 to 79 years participated in the reexamination in 1998."

    "Obesity at midlife is associated with an increased risk of dementia and AD later in life. Clustering of vascular risk factors increases the risk in an additive manner. The role of weight reduction for the prevention of dementia needs to be further investigated."

    Obesity and vascular risk factors at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. - PubMed - NCBI

    "Cross-sectional studies show that people with dementia have a lower BMI than those without dementia, which is potentially due to a greater rate of BMI decline occurring during the years immediately preceding dementia onset. However, a high BMI can also increase the risk for dementia when measured before clinical dementia onset, which might be due to vascular disorders or bioactive hormonal compounds that are secreted by adipose tissue."

    Adiposity indices and dementia. - PubMed - NCBI

    "Obesity in middle age increases the risk of future dementia independently of comorbid conditions."

    Obesity in middle age and future risk of dementia: a 27 year longitudinal population based study
     
  5. tara

    tara Member

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    +1
    And in the past, some leanness probably represented good health, but some of it was probably also about food-scarcity.
     
  6. Westside PUFAs

    Westside PUFAs Member

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    This is an oversimplification.

    Seeing that heart disease is the number one killer, I don't agree. The obese, which are the majority, aren't "metabolizing" whats building up in their arteries.

    There's a difference between training seven days a week and being completely sedentary. It also depends on what the training consists of.

    Water weight? There's a difference between held water and adipose tissue.
     
  7. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    All of the studies you posted are about obesity in middle age. The study I posted was about obesity being protective in the elderly. As I said in my first response, being obese when younger is probably not good. But being skinny due to stressful interventions is not good either, and it is starting to look like it is worse than being obese.
     
  8. Westside PUFAs

    Westside PUFAs Member

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    79 years old is middle age?
     
  9. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    It was meant as a joke. There are people who train to exhaustion and feel like they have to count even water as calories because they get fat by eating anything above zero calories.
    Not sure what the disagreement is about. The study is not mine, I just reported the findings and provided possible explanation. Most skinny people I know are not skinny naturally but through insane amount of effort and dieting. That is definitely not good either. Maintaining decent weight without effort is the much better indicator of health than simply measuring BMI.
     
  10. Westside PUFAs

    Westside PUFAs Member

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    We've discussed this before on a similar thread. The goal then should be to avoid stressful interventions in the first place.
     
  11. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    I don't know, the studies you posted apparently consider it middle age. The term middle age is even in the quotes you provided. Why call something middle age unless you want to distinguish it from later age?
     
  12. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Yep, I did not advocate getting fat to avoid dementia. All I am saying is that if a person is skinny only due to intense efforts then they are probably not reaping the benefits they think they are.
     
  13. jaa

    jaa Member

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    I'm with Westside PUFA on this one.

    How many elderly folks are out there over training regularly?

    I've got a feeling this could be similar to a lot of the other pro-pounds studies in that once the disease onsets, the ones who survive longest tend to lose the weight. Anecdotally, I have 2 grandfathers who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's (and one with diabetes) about 10 years ago. Since then, they've bother lost a noticeable amount of weight.
     
  14. PeatThemAll

    PeatThemAll Member

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    The OP angle - fat as protective - wouldn't surprise me if one considers a fat cell as a garbage can (or storage area) sparing the liver and organs from unnecessary work and corresponding waste products. Sure, there's other risks, but it's like choosing the lesser of two evils.
     
  15. Westside PUFAs

    Westside PUFAs Member

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    Obesity is toxemia, technically.
     
  16. amethyst

    amethyst Member

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    Hmmm.....logically, I can see that in the elderly, being a little overweight is protective. Maybe, like 20 lbs. or so?Especially if someone was slender or an average size weight when younger. I just can't see being obese as a healthful thing.

    I do agree that artificially manipulating weight thru exercise and dieting is not healthy. It takes it's toll on your body. But this is something I and many other women have done in the past...starve themselves to be a certain size. Fighting your natural weight or curves is not good at all. I watched a video from the 1940's the other day, and saw that the women and also the men, were at a healthy weight- they just looked solid and well fed. Robust really. But compared to today's unrealistic standards, they might even be considered chubby. Today, they'd probably be fat shamed when really, they looked quite healthy.

    Seems now there is a movement in the opposite direction..for fat acceptance..but I don't think that's healthy either. I think the answer as far as health is concerned, is somewhere in the middle. Endorsing "obesity" is not a healthy thing IMO. There are too many health complications when someone is obese. But too skinny is not a healthy thing either. In my previous occupation, I've knew women who subsisted on salads, cigarettes and coffee and that was it for the day. Just trying to stay unnaturally thin ...and drug use to take away your appetite. Not good.

    Sadly today, now it's the guys who are doing this as well just to have six pack abs. I think the answer health-wise, is somewhere in the middle.
     
  17. amethyst

    amethyst Member

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    Yeah , 79 years old is not middle age. That is elderly.
     
  18. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    The studies themselves called it middle age - see the quotes above.
     
  19. amethyst

    amethyst Member

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    Oh ok, I was actually agreeing with you.
    as a side note, it wasn't until the 50's ? that they started to introduced those damned PUFA oils....which is an interesting correlation because before that time, people just looked like they were supposed to look..nice and healthy and robust....unless they lived under conditions where food was not readily accessible.
     
  20. Giraffe

    Giraffe Member

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    The studies @Westside PUFAs posted had follow-up periods of 21 and 27 years. Health evaluation were done when the participants were in their 40s.
     
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