Obese individuals often perform poorly in reasoning and planning tasks

Obese individuals often perform poorly in reasoning and planning tasks and, likewise, those with poor cognitive function are more vulnerable to excessive weight gain.

The controversial findings, published in the international journal Obesity Reviews, suggests that obesity should be treated, at least in part, as a brain condition, similar to anorexia nervosa.

This could mean introducing cognitive remediation therapy used to treat anorexia to support other lifestyle interventions for people with obesity. Cognitive remediation therapy aims at improving executive function via cognitive training and increases awareness of cognitive style.

Australia is one of the most overweight developed nations in the world, according to the Federal Government’s Preventative Health Task Force, with over 60% of adults and one in four children overweight or obese.

Reviewing 38 recent studies into obesity and cognition, researchers from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry found there was a likely “vicious cycle” relationship between cognition and obesity, with low performance in planning, reasoning and problem solving exacerbating weight gain, which in turn compounds negative influence on the brain via biological mechanisms.

“Executive function is the most common cognitive deficiency found in obese individuals. It encompasses a diverse range of processes that facilitate initiation, planning and achievement of complex goals, all of which may impact on eating behaviour and activity.

Cognitive remediation therapy similar to that used to treat individuals with anorexia could be an effective intervention for obesity, by improving certain cognitive processes and in turn helping individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle long term, Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith is now piloting the therapy as a way to help the obese lose weight and keep it off long term, in collaboration with Kings College London and University of Western Sydney (UWS).

“Because current strategies for treating obesity are not successful long-term, there’s an urgency to invest in new obesity research,” Dr Smith said.

Source: University of New South Wales

Dr. Anil Singhal MD

Obese individuals often perform poorly in reasoning and planning tasks
by ( Author at Obesity2020.com )
Posted on at 12:46 pm.
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