A recent study has concluded that being overweight reduces the risk of dementia but a myriad of contradictory advice does not help ordinary men and women decide what is best for them.
The research undertaken was reportedly the largest and most precise investigation into the relationship between obesity and dementia; the study which used two million British people for the research sounds convincing.
Research using a cross-section of two million British people cannot be wrong or can it?
Researchers admit the findings were unexpected, as previously being overweight was thought to increase the risk of developing dementia. BBC News reporting the story Friday says "The analysis of nearly two million British people, in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, showed underweight people had the highest risk."
"The team at Oxon Epidemiology and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analysed medical records from 1,958,191 people aged 55, on average, for up to two decades. Their most conservative analysis showed underweight people had a 39% greater risk of dementia compared with being a healthy weight. But those who were overweight had an 18% reduction in dementia - and the figure was 24% for the obese."
The findings cast some doubt on whether or not following the advice for a healthy lifestyle of not smoking, eating healthily, taking exercise and maintaining a trim weight will protect you against dementia.
However if you throw all the sensible advice above out of the window and decide to become a teletubby there is a good chance you will develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, vascular problems or any number of other health issues which will shorten your life.
My first thought on hearing this news Friday was that most fatties will have a shorter life expectancy anyway surely casting doubts on any such study but as always it is never that simple.
Firstly we all know at least one person who survives into very old age in spite of being a heavy cigarette smoker or obese. That should not be an excuse to over indulge as such people tend to be the exception not the rule.
Genes play a big part in our health and some cancer genes are hereditary and will increase your chances of developing cancer no matter how 'healthy' your lifestyle.
Lead researcher Dr Nawab Qizilbash told the BBC "The controversial side is the observation that overweight and obese people have a lower risk of dementia than people with a normal, healthy body mass index. “That’s contrary to most if not all studies that have been done, but if you collect them all together our study overwhelms them in terms of size and precision."
Dr Qizlbash however also says the findings should not be used as an excuse to get fat.
Research down the years pushes and pulls us this way and that but there are some positives about this latest study.
If the research can find why fat people are less likely to develop dementia than skinny people it could lead to preventative treatment.
One line of thought that vitamin D and E deficiencies can lead to dementia needs more research. Sources Independent Lancet BBC News