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Compr Psychiatry. 2007 Jan-Feb;48(1):57-61. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

Elevated body mass index is associated with executive dysfunction in otherwise healthy adults.

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Department of Psychology, Kent Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA.


There is growing evidence that obesity is linked to adverse neurocognitive outcome, including reduced cognitive functioning and Alzheimer disease. However, no study to date has determined whether the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cognitive performance varies as a function of age. We examined attention and executive function in a cross-section of 408 healthy persons across the adult life span (20-82 years). Bivariate correlation showed that BMI was inversely related to performance on all cognitive tests. After controlling for possible confounding factors, overweight and obese adults (BMI > 25) exhibited poorer executive function test performance than normal weight adults (BMI, 18.5-24.9). No differences emerged in attention test performance, and there was no evidence of a BMI x age interaction for either cognitive domain. These results provide further evidence for the relationship between elevated BMI and reduced cognitive performance and suggest that this relationship does not vary with age. Further research is needed to identify the etiology of these deficits and whether they resolve after weight loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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