OBESE KIDS AS SMART
AS THEIR LEANER PEERS
Obese kids, or those with lesser aerobic fitness, are as smart as their leaner peers, finds a study that analysed associations of fitness, motor competence and adiposity with cognition. The study, led by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, showed that children with different levels of aerobic fitness or body fat percentage did not differ in cognition. In fact, boys with higher aerobic fitness at the baseline of the study had poorer cognition during the two-year follow-up than those with lower fitness. The results also show boys with better motor skills had a smaller increase in their cognitive skills than those with poorer motor skills. However, “it is important to remember that these results do not necessarily reflect a casual relation between motor skills and cognition,” said Eero Haapala, postdoctoral researcher from the varsity.
“Boys with poorer motor and cognitive skills caught up with their more skilful peers during the two-year follow-up,” Haapala added. Although the study suggests that motor skills and cognition are associated with one another in boys, it would be premature to claim that motor skills boost cognition. Mindfulness is a mind-body practice where individuals learn to achieve heightened awareness of their current state of mind and immediate environment in the present moment. The study showed that individuals who participated in mindfulness training as part of an intensive weight management programme lost three kilogrammes of weight in six months than others who participated in obesity management programme. “This research is significant as we have shown that problematic eating behaviour can be improved with mindfulness application,” said Petra Hansona, lead researcher and postdoctoral student from the University of Warwickshire in the UK. For the study, the team examined weight loss among a small group of people who were attending the multidisciplinary tier 3 weight management programme. Findings showed that individuals who attended only one or two courses lost, on average, 0.9 kilograms during the same period. Conversely, those who did not complete the course tended to weigh more than those who finished the group mindfulness course.