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Early-Life Weight Associated With Cognitive Factors

FRIDAY, May 25, 2018 -- Early-life weight status has an inverse association with some cognitive abilities in children, according to a study published online May 23 in Obesity.

Nan Li, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues used data from mother-child pairs enrolled in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study (2003 to 2006) to assess children's early-life weight status. The authors used neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive abilities at ages 5 and 8 years.

The researchers found that of the 233 children, 167 were lean and 66 were non-lean. Full-scale intelligence quotient scores decreased for each 1-unit increase in weight-for-height standard deviation (SD) score, even after adjustment for covariables (β = −1.4; 95 percent confidence interval, −3 to 0.1). Also, a 1-unit increase in weight-for-height SD score was associated with a decrease in perceptual reasoning (β = −1.7; 95 percent confidence interval, −3.3 to 0) and working memory scores (β = −2.4; 95 percent confidence interval, −4.4 to −0.4). Weight status generally had no correlation with other cognition measures.

"Within this cohort of typically developing children, early-life weight status was inversely associated with children's perceptual reasoning and working memory scores and possibly with full-scale intelligent quotient scores," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2018