Obesity and Your Brain
Obesity has been shown to cause negative health issues in the developed adult brain. At the same time, inflammation resulting from increased visceral fat has also been shown to cause distinct and lasting changes in the brains of children and adolescents.
This leads to a long-term association between obesity and cognitive function and brain health11.
Obesity and related health conditions are clearly associated with impaired cognitive performance, accelerated cognitive decline, and even dementia in later life.
Interventions targeting mid-life obesity may prove beneficial in reducing the cognitive risks associated with obesity12.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition resulting from chronic inflammation.
It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including obesity and excess amounts of stored visceral fat.
The incidence rate of IBD has increased over the last twenty years. Researchers attribute this increase in IBD to dietary changes, sedentary lifestyles, and increased obesity rates.
Studies examining the link between obesity and IBD have consistently demonstrated that proinflammatory adipokines released by adipose tissue contribute to the observed correlation between obesity and IBD.
Additional research has demonstrated that weight loss disrupts the development of IBD and other autoimmune conditions13.
Obesity is associated with increased occurrence of migraine headaches.
Specifically, increased levels of body fat, and specifically visceral fat, elevates the secretion of pro-inflammatory adipokines.
This increase in adipokines has been attributed to increased risk of migraines and migraine inflammation.
Lower overall levels of total fat-free mass (FFM) have also demonstrated to be a significant contributor to increased risk of migraines in people who are classified as overweight and obese14.
Scientific research has established a direct correlation between depression and increased amounts of visceral fat.
This is especially true in women considered to be obese or overweight.
These studies demonstrate that the presence of increased amounts of visceral fat is an important contributor to depression. It also demonstrates depression’s connection to increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Interestingly, the same studies found no association between depression and the presence of subcutaneous fat – only visceral fat.
Researchers attribute the connection between depression and visceral fat directly to the chemical changes caused by the propensity of excess visceral fat to the increased number of pro-inflammatory proteins secreted into the affected areas of the body15.
In contrast, increased total lean body mass was strongly associated with fewer symptoms of mood disorder.
This includes fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. These findings further suggest a strong correlation between body compositions and mood disorder16.
The presence of visceral fat has also been linked to skin breakouts and skin flare-ups, including eczema, psoriasis, and hives.
In expressing these inflammation-induced flare-ups, the skin is typically providing an indication of a health problem elsewhere in the body. This is most often in the area of the gut, stomach, or liver.
Interestingly, the research found that the people who were obese or overweight were more likely to have eczema than people who were not obese or overweight.
In fact, subjects with an elevated body mass index were found to be nearly 10 times more likely to have eczema than those with lower body mass indexes.
These findings have led to the conclusion that obesity is associated with increased prevalence and increased severity of eczema, increased chronic health conditions, greater reliance on health care, and overall poor health17.