Obesity and its negative impact on intelligence

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Medical research indicates that excess weight impairs brain function.[1]

Intelligence is a person's capacity to receive, apply, and retain information.

Medical science studies indicate that excess weight impairs brain function (see also: Health risks linked to obesity)[2]

On October 15, 2006, The Telegraph reported in an article entitled The greater your weight, the lower your IQ, say scientists:

It is bad for your blood pressure, knocks years off your life and is a strain on your heart. Now scientists have discovered that gaining weight lowers your intelligence.

The findings follow last week's government figures that show Britain as the "fat man" of Europe, with nearly a quarter of adults and more than 14 per cent of children under 16 classified as obese.

The new five-year study of more than 2,200 adults claims to have found a link between obesity and the decline in a person's cognitive function. The research, conducted by French scientists, which is published in this month's Neurology journal, involved men and women aged between 32 and 62 taking four mental ability tests that were then repeated five years later.

The researchers found that people with a Body Mass Index – a measure of body fat – of 20 or less could recall 56 per cent of words in a vocabulary test, while those who were obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher, could remember only 44 per cent.[3]

For more information, please see: Health risks linked to obesity

Sleep, mental performance and obesity negatively impacting sleep

Sleep problems have a negative impact on mental performance. Adequate sleep, on the other hand, improves processes such as memory, attentional ability, alertness, mental insight and creativity.[4]

According to the Mayo Clinic some of the symptoms associated with obesity can include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pain in your back or joints
  • Excessive sweating
  • Always feeling hot
  • Rashes or infection in folds of your skin
  • Feeling out of breath with minor exertion
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue

Weight loss and memory improvement

Weight loss causes memory improvement.[6][7]

See also


  1. The greater your weight, the lower your IQ, say scientists, By Nina Goswami, The Telegraph, 12:01AM BST 15 Oct 2006
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=symptoms
  3. Weight loss improves memory - Science Daily
  4. Weight loss improves memory - ABC News