Study strengthens link between childhood obesity and brain differences

Study strengthens link between childhood obesity and brain differences


Study strengthens link between childhood obesity and brain differences

Does excess body weight somehow reduce regions in the brain that regulate planning and impulse control, and is obesity a result of that brain difference?

Previous studies in children and adults have produced conflicting results. And the

published with the study called it an important addition to mounting evidence of a link between weight, brain structure and mental function.

“We don’t know which direction these relationships go, nor do they suggest that people with obesity are not as smart as people at a healthy weight,”said

The federally funded study involved 3,190 U.S. children aged 9 and 10. Researchers measured their height and weight, which allowed them to determine their

All of the children had MRI brain scans and took computer-based tests to assess mental functions such as memory, language, reasoning and impulse control.

The differences compared with normal-weight kids were subtle, said study author

The heaviest kids also had slightly worse scores on computer-based tests of executive function. But Mackey and study leader

It’s also unclear exactly how these differences are related to weight. It’s likely other factors not measured in the study — including physical activity and healthy nutrition — play a far greater role, Mackey said.

Still, the results leave many questions unanswered, said

“We know from a lot of really good research that obesity is not as much in an individual’s control as we think it is,” she said.

Read more: Los Angeles Times

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