Obese is linked to a decline in a person's cognitive function, French scientists report. In other words they say being overweight lowers your intelligence.
We already know that being very overweight has implications for blood pressure and the heart, and can shorten a person's life quite considerably; to hear also that it can affect a person's intelligence is almost too much and will be viewed by many as dubious.
The news is opportune as just last week government figures illustrated that Britain is now the "fat man" of Europe, with nearly a quarter of adults and more than 14 per cent of children under 16 classified as obese, reports News-Medical.
According to This is London, it has already been nicknamed the "Homer Simpson effect" - being overweight could affect your intelligence, a study suggests. A five-year study of more than 2,000 middle-aged people in France has found a possible link between weight and brain function.
Research published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that people with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) scored lower on average in cognitive tests within a sample.
The findings came in the week that Britain was dubbed the "fat man of Europe" following new figures.
"Another explanation could be that since obesity is a widely known cardiovascular risk factor, due to the thickening and hardening of the blood vessels, that the same happens with the arteries in the brain," said Dr. Cournot, an assistant professor in clinical epidemiology at Toulouse University Hospital.
"It would be logical that losing weight would make your cognitive function increase," she added.
David Haslam, the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, established in 2000 to raise awareness of the health implications of being overweight, said the new research was "alarming."
"It goes to show obesity affects every single organ in the human body," he said. "No one wants to be obese, especially when it causes dementia and heart disease, but the news that it affects your brainpower will come as a shock and is alarming."
But Anne Widdecombe, a former British Cabinet minister who lost 30 pounds participating in a television show called "Celebrity Fit Club," said she was skeptical of the study.
"You just need to look around the world, and you will see hundreds of thin nitwits and clever fat people," she said, informs Washington Times.