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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jan;22(1):232-42. doi: 10.1002/oby.20518. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

An 8-month randomized controlled exercise trial alters brain activation during cognitive tasks in overweight children.

Author information

1
Psychology Department, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Children who are less fit reportedly have lower performance on tests of cognitive control and differences in brain function. This study examined the effect of an exercise intervention on brain function during two cognitive control tasks in overweight children.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Participants included 43 unfit, overweight (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) children 8- to 11-years old (91% Black), who were randomly divided into either an aerobic exercise (n = 24) or attention control group (n = 19). Each group was offered a separate instructor-led after-school program every school day for 8 months. Before and after the program, all children performed two cognitive control tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): antisaccade and flanker.

RESULTS:

Compared to the control group, the exercise group decreased activation in several regions supporting antisaccade performance, including precentral gyrus and posterior parietal cortex, and increased activation in several regions supporting flanker performance, including anterior cingulate and superior frontal gyrus.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exercise may differentially impact these two task conditions, or the paradigms in which cognitive control tasks were presented may be sensitive to distinct types of brain activation that show different effects of exercise. In sum, exercise appears to alter efficiency or flexible modulation of neural circuitry supporting cognitive control in overweight children.

PMID:
23788510
PMCID:
PMC4077546
DOI:
10.1002/oby.20518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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