A woman's body shape may play a role in how good her memory is, according to a new study.May play a role. Well, that's certainly good enough to publish under the definitive headlins: "Study: Body shape affects memory in older women." I wonder, despite being apple-shaped myself, if I should be more or less worried about this research than the research which assured me that my fatty-fattitude will SHRINK MY BRAIN!
The more an older woman weighs, the worse her memory, according to research released this week from Northwestern Medicine at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
The effect is more pronounced in women who carry excess weight around their hips, known as pear shapes, than women who carry it around their waists, called apple shapes.
The reason pear-shaped women experienced more memory and brain function deterioration than apple-shaped women is likely related to the type of fat deposited around the hips versus the waist. Scientists know that different kinds of fat release different cytokines -- the hormones that can cause inflammation and affect cognition.Can cause. Hmm. Well, even if it's a possibility, we'd better start panicking, right? After all, this isn't called an obesity CRISIS for nothing. Set phasers to shame!
"The study tells us if we have a woman in our office, and we know from her waist-to-hip ratio that she's carrying excess fat on her hips, we might be more aggressive with weight loss," Kerwin said. "We can't change where your fat is located, but having less of it is better."Breaking news from science, everyone: Having less fat is better.
Also better: Having less genetic predisposition toward fatness, having less disability contributing to fatness, having less illness treatable with medications that cause fatness, having less ruined metabolisms from yo-yo dieting or smoking or disordered eating, having less trauma self-medicated with food, having less use for fat as a self-defense mechanism, having less poverty, having fewer food deserts, having fewer green-free urban spaces, having less food insecurity, having less government-subsidized corn farming, having less car-dependent suburban and exurban development, having less medical research and reporting axiomatically treating fat as causation.
The best: Having less fat hatred.
In case my point isn't clear, I'm not suggesting that there should be no investigation into the relationship between fat and brain activity (or heart function, or lung capacity, or tear-duct production, or anything else). My point is that, when correlations are identified, the solution oughtn't immediately be: "AGGRESSIVELY ENCOURAGE WEIGHT LOSS!" as if every fat person has gotten fat via lazy overeating and the solution is thus an individual process, and a simple one at that. Calories in, calories out!
This is a cultural issue, and it's not merely irresponsible and ineffective to say, "Your genetic predisposition to carry weight on your hips plus whatever factors caused you to gain excess weight on your hips has now left your brain vulnerable (we think!), so go sort yourself out, fatty," but is also deeply cruel.
[H/T to Shaker Julia.]