"Now we can add dementia to that," said study author Rachel Whitmer of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
The study involved 6,583 men and women who were ages 40 to 45 when they had checkups between 1964 and 1973. As part of the exam, their belly size was measured by using a caliper to find the distance between their backs and the surface of their upper abdomens. For the study, a distance of about 10 inches or more was considered high.
- Participants with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia.
- Overweight people were 82 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than twice as likely if they had a high belly measurement.
- Obese people were 81 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than three times as likely if they had a high measurement.