Belly fat and diabetes reduce cognitive functions in the elderly

Belly fat and diabetes reduce cognitive functions in the elderly

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What effects does visceral obesity have on cognitive functions?

If older people with type 2 diabetes have excessive amounts of belly fat, this is associated with reduced cognitive function, according to a recent study. This can be observed even in people who actually have a normal body weight.

The recent investigation by the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore found that older people with type 2 diabetes have reduced cognitive functions when they have increased amounts of belly fat. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Clinical Obesity".

Obesity can contribute to serious illnesses

Obesity has a negative impact on our general health. It increases the risk of various serious illnesses and often makes the daily routine of the people concerned considerably more difficult.

Effects have also been observed in people of normal weight

In the current clinical obesity study in older Asians with type 2 diabetes, higher abdominal fat levels were associated with reduced cognitive function. This has even been seen in people of normal weight, suggesting the importance of avoiding excessive belly fat for our health and cognition.

The investigation had 677 participants

677 participants were examined for the study. This enabled the researchers to find out that a higher percentage of abdominal fat (or visceral obesity) is associated with lower values ​​in terms of memory and language.

Cognitive decline in elderly diabetic patients must be avoided

Maintaining cognitive functions is important when performing complex tasks such as managing diabetes care on oneself. Therefore, assessing visceral obesity and interventions that target visceral obesity can help reduce cognitive decline in older diabetic patients to prevent.

Reduce dementia in an aging population

Cognitive decline significantly complicates the self-determined independent life of older people and thus also has a negative impact on the quality of life of the people concerned. If we prevent visceral obesity, we can protect human health and at the same time reduce the global burden of dementia in aging populations, the researchers conclude. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Mei Chung Moh, Serena Low, Tze Pin Ng, Jiexun Wang, Su Fen Ang et al .: Association of traditional and novel measures of central obesity with cognitive performance in older multi ‐ ethnic Asians with type 2 diabetes, in Clinical Obesity (published Feb. 4 .2020), Clinical Obesity

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