Obesity is defined as excessive fat accumulation in the body due to overeating and moving too little. When you eat too much, the excessive fat and sugar accumulate in your body as fat and it can only be burned off when performing any physical activity. If you overeat and sit all day without moving, the fat will not be burned off and stays in your body leading to obesity. It may also lead to several health issues. In this article, we will discuss how obesity affects your brain.
There is a thin line between obesity and overweight. If you are unsure, BMI can be used to measure your obesity.
A person’s weight in Kg divided by the square of a person’s height in meters is referred to as his/her BMI. If the BMI is 30 or more, the person is considered obese. If the BMI is equal to or more than 25, the person is considered overweight.
Health Risks of Being Overweight/Obese
- Type 2 diabetes- Around 87% of people who have diabetes are either obese or overweight. Insulin is a hormone that carries sugar from blood to the cells to use them as energy. If you are overweight, your cells become insulin resistant which means your blood sugar is neither carried by the cells nor it is used as energy and eventually it leads to high blood sugar levels.
- Stroke- High blood pressure is one of the major causes of stroke. A person who is overweight or obese might need their heart to pump harder in order to supply blood to all cells of your body. Hence this can lead to stroke and related heart problems.
- Problems during pregnancy- If you are pregnant and overweight, you have higher chances of developing health problems such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, etc. If the mother is overweight, it is more likely that the child is also born overweight or might gain weight later as an adult.
How Overweight/Obesity Affects Your Brain?
Many studies have shown that being overweight can affect your brain adversely. Here we are listing 5 ways how your obesity affects your brain.
- An area called hypothalamus is known to provide all the signals about eating. It helps control hunger and fullness. Many researchers on animals revealed that obesity makes the hypothalamus inflamed.
- A study conducted during American Academy of Child and Adolescent meeting has shown that orbitofrontal cortex, a region of the brain that controls impulsivity is appeared to be a little shrunken compared to non-obese children. This also leads to impulsive eating.
- The belly fat, also known as visceral fat, plays a major role in reducing the size of the brain. The smaller brain volume is often related to one of the main causes of dementia and it may also lead to higher risk of cognitive decline.
- The brain consists of an outer cortex of grey matter and inner area consisting of white matter. The gray matter is located in the center of the brain. The major difference between gray matter and white matter is that the gray matter contains numerous cell bodies and few myelinated axons. In a research, men and women had different fat percentages and size of specific brain structures. Obese men had lower grey matter compared to obese women.
- In a recent study, scientists have discovered that the prefrontal cortex of the brain that is responsible for complex thinking is found to be less active in people who overeat.
If you are concerned about how obesity affects your brain, you must consult your doctor immediately. He/she will help you reduce your body weight by providing a right diet plan according to your weight. Following the diet plan rightly along with appropriate exercise will help you reverse the changes.