Longitudinal examination of obesity and cognitive function: Results from the baltimore longitudinal study of aging

John Gunstad, April Lhotsky, Carrington Rice Wendell, Luigi Ferrucci, Alan B. Zonderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Obesity indices (i.e. BMI, waist-to-hip ratio) show differential relationships to other health outcomes, though their association to neurocognitive outcome is unclear. Methods: We examined whether central obesity would be more closely associated with cognitive function in 1,703 participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Results: Longitudinal mixed-effects regression models showed multiple obesity indices were associated with poorer performance in a variety of cognitive domains, including global screening measures, memory, and verbal fluency tasks. Obesity was associated with better performance on tests of attention and visuospatial ability. An obesity index by age interaction emerged in multiple domains, including memory and attention/executive function. Conclusion: Obesity indices showed similar associations to cognitive function, and further work is needed to clarify the physiological mechanisms that link obesity to poor neurocognitive outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroepidemiology
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Age-associated cognitive change
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Longitudinal
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology

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