LifestyleOverweight kids found less intelligent, prone to depression: "JAMA Pediatrics" study

Overweight kids found less intelligent, prone to depression: "JAMA Pediatrics" study

Overweight children are less intelligent and prone to depression
Overweight children are less intelligent and prone to depression
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3:56 PM EDT, June 7, 2024

American scientists have no doubts. In the "JAMA Pediatrics" pages, they shared their research results. It turns out that children struggling with overweight are less intelligent and more prone to depression.

We are living in times where more and more people, including very young ones, have problems with being overweight. Obesity has been officially named a civilization disease. Dietitians and doctors are busy teaching people how to live healthily, what to eat, and which sports are worth practicing. American scientists decided to check how being overweight affects young people. Unfortunately, they do not have good news.

According to a report released by the World Health Organization, more than 800 million people worldwide struggle with obesity, and nearly 2 billion people are overweight. These are alarming figures. It means that over 39% of the world's adult population weighs too much, and 13% of them are obese. Increasingly, we hear that overweight and obesity are also issues among children and youth. These problems affect their intelligence and mental health.

Children with overweight are less intelligent and more prone to depression

Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, decided to check how being overweight affects children. They are increasingly facing the consequences of being overweight. Researchers observed over five thousand students aged 9 to 11 years. The analyses clearly showed that students with a higher BMI (overweight or obese) are less intelligent and perform worse on tests; they also show more frequent symptoms of depression.

American scientists emphasize that the studies conducted do not explain the cause-and-effect relationship. It is not known whether a bad diet harmed brain development or if an underdeveloped brain caused excessive overeating. Nevertheless, specialists urge not to combine a harmful diet with a sedentary lifestyle, especially in children. They remind us that studies conducted a few years ago showed that BMI is associated with changes in the development of the brain's prefrontal cortex.

"Our bodies didn't evolve to spend so little energy. We need to move around and interact physically and spend time disconnected in order to reflect. Life has become so different in terms of pace and food has changed too: we now have unhealthy diets, with high fat, high salt and high sugar junk foods that provide rapid energy, and that's not good for health. We have created a quick fix environment that's all about short term pleasure and it's causing long-term pain," said Prof. Iain Buchan, public health expert from the University of Liverpool.
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