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Older Adults That Are 'Skinny Fat' May Develop Dementia

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If a person is considered to be "skinny fat" it could potentially cause problems for their health later on. A new study claims that being skinny fat could increase a person's risk of developing dementia.

Skinny Fat Is Deadly

According to neurologists, people naturally lose body tissue during a process known as sarcopenia and a combination of low muscle mass and high body fat, which is also known as sarcopenic obesity or skinny fat, could forecast poor mental health in the future. 

The researchers from the Florida Atlantic University's Comprehensive Center for Brain Health in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine examined over 300 people with an average age of 69 years old to test this theory. All of the participants took cognitive tests and physical examinations to test their grip strength and how well they could stand up from sitting on a chair.

During the tests, the researchers noted each participant's body mass index, body fat percentage, and muscle mass. 

Sarcopenic Obesity 

The researchers found that the combination of high body fat and low muscle mass is a threat to cognitive function and a person's overall health. The researchers continued that sarcopenic obesity is linked to executive function, which is the skills that help people perform tasks that include mental focus and time management.

People who have sarcopenic obesity also performed poorly on the cognitive tests. The researchers note that the decline of these functions some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease.

The researchers of the study believe that high body fat levels could worsen the effects of low muscle mass which could be due to the negative impact obesity has on a person's vascular system, inflammatory and metabolism responses in the body.

"Understanding the mechanisms through which this syndrome [sarcopenic obesity] may affect cognition is important as it may inform efforts to prevent cognitive decline in later life by targeting at-risk groups with an imbalance between lean and fat mass," Dr. James E. Galvin, senior author of the study, stated

Dr. Galvin continued that people who are considered skinny fat could benefit from programs that address the loss of cognitive functions and that could improve strength and get rid of obesity.

The researchers of the study continued more research is needed to confirm this theory. The study was published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging.  

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