Obesity And Reduced Blood Flow to Brain

Obesity and psychiatric disorders have a bi-directional relationship

Overweight can reduce blood flow to the brain but an increased physical activity could modify the blood flow, according to a recent study by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College, Dublin.

The World Health Organization has said that obesity is a worsening health crisis across the world, with over one billion adults overweight. It has said that at least 300 million are clinically obese. Obesity continues to be a major contributor to chronic disease and disability in the world.


Increased Body Mass Index, Waist to Hip Ration and waist size are associated with less blood supply to the brain.

A waist size increase of +1cm is associated with the same reduction in brain blood flow as +1 year of age.

Higher levels of physical activity modify blood flow


The researchers has recommended at least 1.5 to 2 hours of being active’ throughout the day. Activities that cause one to breathe harder than normal, such as brisk walking or cycling can increase blood flow.

Research fellow at TILDA and lead author Dr Silvin Knight said that healthy blood supply to the brain is critical. The doctor noted that less blood flow could lead to serious health issues as one ages. There is an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Silvin Knight claimed that their study revealed clear associations between obesity and reduced blood supply to the brain in an older population. The study has shown the importance of being physically active for older overweight or obese individuals. This would help in more blood flow to the brain.


The researchers looked into three different measures of obesity – Body Mass Index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference, as well as physical activity, in adults over 50 years.

They measured the brain blood flow using MRI scanning and analysis techniques.



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