Get smart – lose the flab!

A new study published in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that overweight people are not as smart as their slimmer counterparts.  Researchers from Toulouse University Hospital in France tested that cognitive ability in over 2,200 healthy workers aged 32 to 62.  Results showed that middle-aged men and women with a high body mass index (BMI) received lower scores on cognitive tests than those with a low BMI.  For example, results from a test involving word memory recall showed that those with a BMI of 20, considered healthy, remembered an average of nine out of 16 words, while those with a BMI of 30, classed as obese, remembered an average of seven out of 16 words.  Study author Dr Maxime Cournot suggested that these findings may be due to a host of factors including the thickening and hardening of cerebral vessels because of obesity or possibly the development of insulin resistance.  Other work has shown that overweight people face higher risk of dementia.

Cournot M, Marquie JC, Ansiau D, Martinaud C, Fonds H, Ferrieres J and Ruidavets JB. 2006. Relation between body mass index and cognitive function in healthy middle-aged men and women. Neurology. 67 (7) 1208-1214.