Obesity is considered a fatal condition in which the natural reserve of energy that has been deposited in the fatty tissues of humans is of such a high level that it increases the chances for developing a host of serious health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, sleep apnea, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. It is such a condition in which body mass index, one of the prominent methods to calculate body fat using your height and weight, is more than 30. Among the causes for obesity are smoking, lack of exercise, a genetic predisposition towards being overweight, unhealthy eating habits, overeating and several other environmental as well as biological factors. According to certain studies conducted by teams from such institutions as the University of Florida and the Toulouse University School of Medicine in France, obesity can tremendously lower your IQ, apart from forming a major reason for several other aforesaid chronic health disorders.
The French team at Toulouse University conducted a study by monitoring the relationship between the BMI and the capability to think, learn, and remember, with people between the ages of 30 and 60. Initially, the participant’s height and weight were recorded, and later they were subdivided into five groups. These participants further underwent a series of tests, such as cognitive skills, memory tests, selective attention tests, and word-list learning tests. Eventually, the studies revealed that people with a high body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more scored much lower on memory tests, as well as other mental ability tests. Further, researchers also found that people with a body mass index of 20 or less scored much higher when compared to the heavier participants, and they could easily remember the majority of words in vocabulary tests.
As per the research conducted at the University of Florida, the studies revealed that there is a direct link between morbid obesity in toddlers and a lower IQ. Researches were conducted with 18 adults and 18 children with morbid obesity. Studies were also carried out with children and adults with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes people to overeat and become obese at a very young age, as well as normal weight siblings and lean siblings. As the studies concluded the results showed that Prader-Willi patients scored an average IQ of 63, while people with early onset obesity scored an IQ of 78. In the case of the control groups, the IQ was 106.
The University of Florida researchers also conducted MRI scans on the participants, which in turn helped to discover white-matter lesions on the brains of subjects with Prader-Willi as well as patients with early onset obesity, similar white-brain lesions and cognitive delays are found in Alzheimer’s patients and children with phenylketonuria. These lesions are harmful for the brain, as it causes a tendency to over eat, both in children and adults.
It is evident that being obese may adversely affect your IQ as well as your physical health and lifestyle. Prevention is considered the primary step in avoiding obesity. Regular and effective exercise is one of the best ways to prevent obesity. Exercise enhances your metabolism and burns calories, thereby allowing you to lose weight. A regular diet of healthy food, consisting of several small meals consumed throughout the day, is regarded as the next step in preventing obesity.
In other words, regular exercise coupled with an intake of healthy food not only safeguards you from chronic ailments such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke and osteoarthritis, but also slows down mental aging. Above all, proper exercise and a healthy diet reduces the chances for premature death.