Excess abdominal fat places health middle-aged people at a higher risk of dementia in later life, researchers have found.
Scientists at the Framingham heart Study Offspring Cohort conducted a study on a sample of 733 participants with a mean age of 60 years, to examine the association between Body Mass Index (BMI), waste circumference, waist to hip ratio and brain volumes.
Preliminary findings confirm the suspected inverse association between increasing BMI and lower brain volumes in older adults compared with younger and middle-aged adults.
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Dr Sudha Seshadri explained: "More importantly our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity, particularly the visceral fat component of abdominal obesity, and risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
"Further studies will add to our knowledge and offer important methods of prevention."
Research carried out last month indicated that diabetes and depression may also have an impact on adults developing dementia later in life.
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.