A recent study has concluded that people who are obese have a decreased ability to discriminate and detect smell than compared to people who are not obese.
Obesity is a medical condition which is characterized by an increased amount of fat in the body. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Obesity is a global issue and it affects people all over the world. The World Health Organization has found that world obesity has almost tripled from 1975. In 2016, out of 2 billion overweight adults, 650 million were obese. 41 million children under the age of 5 were either obese or overweight.
Obesity is defined by Body Mass Index or BMI by nutritionists and doctors. BMI is considered as a diagnostic tool which analyzes whether a person is at the right weight for their height. The American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity as a disease in the year 2013. This targeted on the idea that obesity is only caused by overeating and lack of physical exercise. Instead, the AMA says that in many cases people have no control over the weight as it may be caused by many factors.
Smell and obesity are linked
Until now, the relationship between smell and obesity had not been clearly identified. This link was recently discovered by researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand and published in the journal Obesity Reviews. The study finds that there is a strong link between a person's body weight and their smell ability. The better a person’s sense of smell, the more likely the person is to be slim. The converse is also true. People who have a poor sense of smell maybe obese. A poor sense of smell can increase the risk of obesity and make people choose unhealthier food.
Weight loss surgery can improve the sense of smell
This research found that obesity changes a person’s metabolism which in turn affects communication pathways between the stomach and brain. The study examined two weight loss surgical treatments; stomach removal and surgical bypass. Amongst the two procedures, stomach removal has proved to be more effective to re-establish the communication path between the gut and the brain. Stomach removal improve the ability to smell, while other obesity surgeries do not have the same effect.
These findings establish a relationship between eating habits and sense of smell. This study improves our understanding of the role smell has in various body-shape groups.