There has been a recent release of an article referencing a study on how body fat affects brain volume. (Read more here Body Fat May Affect Your Brain Volume, Study Says).

We have known for many years that being overweight or obese has many negative impacts on our body, including including increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and breathing problems. In the study ‘The scientists found that people with both higher BMI (defined as equal to or greater than 30 kg/m2) and higher waist-to-hip ratio measurements had lower grey matter volume in the brain compared to those who were leaner.’  It is the higher waist-to-hip ratio measurements that are of greater concern as body fat accumulated around our middle section tends to surround abdominal organs like the liver, stomach and intestines.

This recent study shows an association between obesity, however the study does not identify which came first, just a correlation between the two.

But why is decreased grey matter concerning? Let’s take a look at the function of grey matter: Grey matter contains most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

A decrease in functionality in these areas can have a profound effect on someone’s quality of life. When your decision making, emotional regulation and self-control is compromised it can be very difficult to take, and keep taking, the actions needed to manage your weight and your health. If your muscle control is compromised it may feel unsafe to undertake day to day activities, let alone exercise. Fortunately there are many wonderful professionals, such as Exercise Physiologists, available to support you while you make the changes you need.

Exercise and diet has been shown to assist with weight loss and are two health related variables that can be changed. Therefore exercise may assist with increasing the density of grey matter through a decrease in weight, and can improve things such as muscle control, memory, emotions, decision making and self control.

Call the office today on 8331 1557 and make an appointment to see Aidan or Raegan from our Exercise Physiology team. They will be able to talk to you about how to get started and support you through the changes you will need to make. *PHI rebates apply