Obesity and Cognitive Decline | Munich Center for the Economics of Aging - MEA



Obesity and Cognitive Decline

The prevalence of obesity in mid-age and in later life is increasing in many countries all over the world. Additionally, obesity is a well-known risk factor for poorer health in later life. It is related to several diseases including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and poor cognition. On the other hand, a phenomenon called “obesity paradox” or “jolly fat” is discussed in literature. It indicates a counterintuitive relation between loss of weight and poorer health outcome, especially for mental and cardiovascular diseases, but also for cognitive decline. This project firstly aims at confirming the mentioned association of a high body mass index and poorer cognitive function. Secondly, as the SHARE panel data seem to also suggest the existence of the obesity paradox related to cognitive decline, this project aims at possibly explaining the apparent paradox with other confounding factors observed in SHARE and causing both – loss of weight and cognitive decline.

Luzia Weiss