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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jan;24(1):207-14. doi: 10.1002/oby.21329. Epub 2015 Dec 6.

Associations between obesity and cognition in the pre-school years.

Author information

1
Physical Activity for Health Group, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
2
Developmental Psychology in Education Group, Moray House School of Education, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.
3
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
4
Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
5
School of Pharmacy, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
6
Department of Kinesiology, the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that obesity is associated with impaired cognitive outcomes in the pre-school years.

METHODS:

Associations were examined between weight status at age 3-5 years and cognitive performance at age 5 years. Cognitive outcome measures were tests of pattern construction (visuospatial skills), naming vocabulary (expressive language skills), and picture similarity (reasoning skills). The sample was the UK Millennium Cohort Study (n = 12,349 participants).

RESULTS:

Boys with obesity at 3 years had significantly lower performance in pattern construction at age 5 years compared to those of a healthy weight, even after controlling for confounders (β = -0.029, P = 0.03). Controlling for confounders, boys who developed obesity between the ages of 3 and 5 years had lower scores in pattern construction (β = -0.03, P = 0.03). "Growing out" of obesity had a positive association with picture similarity performance in girls (β = 0.03, P = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS:

Obesity in the pre-school years was associated with poorer outcomes for some cognitive measures in this study. Stronger relationships between obesity and cognition or educational attainment may emerge later in childhood.

PMID:
26638123
DOI:
10.1002/oby.21329
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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