Obesity and brain tissue
Researchers have found that women who remain obese throughout their lives are more likely to lose brain tissue and are also more susceptible to dementia.
Carrying extra weight was a risk even if other factors, such as diabetes, were taken into account. Whether or not a person is of a healthy weight is determined by their BMI, or body mass index.
According to the BBC, the study found that the higher the women's BMI, the greater the chance they would experience brain tissue loss, known as cerebral atrophy.
The research team say the results are consistent with their previous findings showing that being overweight was a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
"These conditions contribute to an unhealthy vascular system, and therefore to a higher dementia risk, Dr Gustafson was quoted as saying.
"Obesity may also increase the secretion of the hormone cortisol, which could lead to atrophy. If overweight and obesity contribute not only to diseases of middle age, but also to degenerative diseases of later life, the health ramifications of excess body fat will stress healthcare systems for many years to come," she added.