Poster A23, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The Associations between Obesity and Visceral Adipose Tissue with Cognitive Function and Achievement in Children
Lauren Raine1, Eric Drollette2, Shih-Chun Kao1, Daniel Westfall1, Laura Chaddock-Heyman2, Arthur Kramer1,2, Naiman Khan2, Charles Hillman1; 1Northeastern University, 2University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Background: Although obesity has been related to measures of academic achievement and cognition in children, the influence of fat distribution, specifically visceral adiposity, on select aspects of achievement and cognitive function remains poorly characterized among preadolescent children. Goals: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation of adiposity, particularly visceral adipose tissue, on achievement and cognitive function among children. Methods: Children with obesity (ages 7-9 years old, N= 55, 35 females) completed cognitive and academic tests. Normal weight children (N= 55, 35 females) were matched to this group on demographic characteristics and aerobic fitness. Covariate analyses included age, IQ, SES, and fat free VO2. Adiposity (i.e., whole body percent fat, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, and visceral adipose tissue) was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: Relative to their normal weight counterparts, children with obesity had significantly lower performance on tests of reading and math. Analyses revealed that among children with obesity, %Fat and SAAT were not related to cognitive abilities. However, higher VAT was associated with poorer intellectual abilities, p’s≤0.04; and cognitive performance (i.e. Thinking Ability and Cognitive Efficiency), p’s≤0.04. However, among normal weight children, VAT was positively associated with intellectual abilities and cognitive efficiency. Conclusion: The results suggest that VAT was selectively and negatively related with cognition among children with obesity. Along with the dangerous metabolic nature of VAT, its detrimental relationship with obese children’s intellectual and cognitive functioning is concerning.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging