Dementia: Obesity is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s – weight loss tips

Alzheimer's: Dr Chris discusses the early signs of condition

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The NHS recommends the body mass index (BMI) weight calculator to find out if you are overweight, obese, or within the “healthy” range; the measurements are based on a person’s height, weight, age and sex. People are also encouraged to measure their waists to identify if they are carrying too much fat around their stomach. “You can have a healthy BMI and still have excess tummy fat,” the NHS pointed out, putting you at risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

To measure your waist:

  1. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.
  2. Wrap a tape measure around your waist midway between these points.
  3. Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement.

Regardless of a person’s BMI, they should try to lose weight if their waist is more than 94cm (37 inches) or more for men, and 80cm (31.5 inches) or more for women.

Men measuring 40 inches or more, and women who are 34 inches or more, are recommended to “contact a GP” to get support with their weight loss goals.

“If you are overweight or obese, even losing five percent to 10 percent of the excess weight can help reduce your risk of dementia,” the NHS added.

How to lose weight

In order to lose weight safely, you should aim to lose between one to two pounds per week.

“Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off,” the national health service added.

The NHS offers a free NHS Weight Loss Plan app that can help you to be more active and to eat more healthily.

It’s a 12-week programme where you can plan your meals, set weight loss goals, and make healthier food choices.

While it may seem counterintuitive, you should not skip breakfast – it will not help you lose weight.

By missing out on essential nutrients, you might crave unhealthy snacks throughout the day.

“Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate,” the NHS added.

This is why sticking to breakfast, lunch and dinner can help you to avoid snacking.

If you still feel hungry in between meals, try drinking a glass of water; this is because thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger.

You can also manage your portion sizes by using smaller plates and bowls, so you can become accustomed to eating smaller portions.

“It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full,” the NHS stated.

Also refrain from stocking up on junk food or having alcohol in the house, which can both add unnecessary calories to your diet if you consume them.

Alzheimer’s disease risk factors

Aside from obesity and high blood pressure, there are other factors that could influence a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

These factors include conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol.

Thus, in order to minimise your risk of the brain condition, you are best of leading an active, healthy lifestyle.

This will involve getting regular health checks as you get older, such as the free NHS Health Check you can get from the age of 40.

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