Research Has Shown That Childhood Obesity Not Only Increases The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes And Hypertension But Is Also Linked To Weaker Cognitive Functioning - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Ongoing research has shown that childhood obesity not only increases the risk of diseases such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes but also leads to a problem that’s not often discussed – declining brain health.

In a study conducted by researchers working with the Radiological Society of North America, it was found that kids with a higher body mass index (BMI) before hitting adolescence tend to exhibit weaker cognitive abilities.

“We know being obese as an adult is associated with poor brain health,” said Simone Kaltenhauser, a radiology and biomedical imagine post-graduate research fellow at the Yale School of Medicine.

“However, previous studies on children have often focused on small, specific study populations or single aspects of brain health.”

So, the team analyzed MRI data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. This research involved 11,878 children aged 9 to 10 from 21 locations nationwide, ensuring a varied sample that reflects the broader population.

They omitted children with eating disorders, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, and those who had suffered traumatic brain injuries – narrowing their focus to slightly over 5,100 participants.

By utilizing BMI z-scores, which adjust for age, gender, and height to assess relative weight, they found that 21% of these children were overweight, while 17.6% were classified as obese.

Next, the researchers assessed brain health through the analysis of data from structural MRI and resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) scans, which are techniques that monitor blood flow changes. They also employed diffusion tensor imaging to investigate the structure of the brain’s white matter.

Upon adjusting for variables such as age, gender, race-ethnicity, right or left-handedness, and socioeconomic status, the team observed changes in brain structure related to higher weight and BMI z-scores in children. – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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