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Yet another reason to fight obesity (and this one isn't about your heart)

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Obesity won't just hurt your physical health. It may hinder your mental performance as well.

In a study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that people who were obese and had unhealthy metabolic issues, such as high blood sugar and high cholesterol, showed signs of hastened cognitive decline, according to the BBC.

The study looked at more than 6,000 British people, ages 35 to 55, and tested their memory and cognitive skills over a decade. The BBC said the researchers don't know why obese participants showed a quicker rate of decline in their test scores, but they suggest that metabolic issues may be a factor.

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Their findings back up previous research that shows carrying extra weight can be bad for your brain. In a 2010 study, scientists at Northwestern Medicine discovered post-menopausal women who carried excess weight had poorer memory skills than their thinner peers.

Another study released earlier this year also found that middle-aged people who were obese were four times more likely to develop dementia.

The researchers involved in the latest study emphasize they were only examining participants' cognitive function, and not dementia, the BBC said.

"While the study itself focuses on cognitive decline, previous research suggests that a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol in midlife can also help stave off dementia," Shirley Cramer of the Alzheimer's Research UK told the broadcaster.

More reason to start shedding those extra pounds.

Does this motivate you to maintain a healthy weight?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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