Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fat Or Smart - Do We Get To Choose?


From US News: Science:

Body Shape May Affect Mental Acuity
Big apples fare better than plump pears

Posted: July 15, 2010
By Janet Raloff, Science News

Being fat may diminish mental performance, studies find — a problem that worsens with age. But among elderly women, where fat is deposited may matter. To wit: The big apple is sharper than the obese pear.

Genetics dictates where people preferentially accumulate body fat. For most it’s around the belly. Among the obese, these apple-shaped individuals tend to run a bigger risk of developing heart disease than do pears — people who deposit most of their excess fat at the hips and thighs. For a host of reasons, physicians had expected that if body shape affected mental performance, apples would again prove the bigger losers.

In fact, the opposite appears true, Diana Kerwin of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and her colleagues report online July 14  in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.


Among apples, the fatter they were, the higher their mental-acuity score, although the difference from slim to morbidly obese was only around 2 points out of 100 possible — and the biggest increase occurred between the slim and normal-weight categories.


I'd love to have heard the conversations that led women to participate in those studies. No, wait; I wouldn't.


  1. Let's see: I'm a morbidly obese Pear and apparently am becoming more stupid by the day.


    I just can't process as much information or do as much creative thinking as I used to. And, maybe my weight does contribute to my softening brain: I have sleep apnea which is brought on (in my case) by being overweight and does affect cognition.

    I've just begun CPAP therapy, so we'll see if that makes me any smarter.

  2. Anya, I just can't help wondering if there is any limit to our society's fixation on people's weight, particularly women's weight. It's absurd how much energy and virtual printer's ink we spend on weight loss; IMHO it is far beyond a health issue and has long since become a social issue.

    For the record, in my own life, my lovers have spanned the gamut from about 90 lb. to about 270 lb. I have no intention of making comparisons, because I have no complaint about any note in that gamut. People are unique.



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