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Association Between Weight Status and Executive Function in Young Adults

1
University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Department of Psychology, Ardabil 5619911367, Iran
2
School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA, UK
3
Islamic Azad University science and research Branch, Tehran 1477893855, Iran
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(7), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55070363
Received: 26 May 2019 / Revised: 6 July 2019 / Accepted: 8 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
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Abstract

Background and objectives: To explore the association between weight status and executive function in young adults. Materials and Methods: Ninety-seven young males (age 17–26 years) underwent adiposity and body composition measurements using body composition analyzer. Inhibitory control and working memory were measured using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB). Results: Multiple linear regression using both unadjusted and adjusted analyses revealed no association between adiposity and body composition variables with executive tasks, apart from a significant association between skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and mean reaction time on go trial (standardized B = -0.28; p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) revealed that underweight participants presented inferior working memory compared to their normal weight (p = 0.001) or overweight peers (p = 0.008). However, according to the percentage fat quartiles (Q) participants with the highest quartile (Q4) were inferior in inhibitory control than their peers with Q2 (p = 0.04), and participants with the lowest quartile (Q1) were inferior in working memory compared with their peers with Q2 (p = 0.01) or Q3 (p = 0.02). A worse inhibitory control was observed for participants with the highest fat/SMM (Q4) compared to participants in Q3 (p = 0.03), and in contrast worse working memory was observed for participants with the lowest fat/SMM (Q1) compared to participants in Q2 (p = 0.04) or Q3 (p = 0.009). Conclusions: Low adiposity is associated with worse working memory, whereas high adiposity is associated with worse inhibitory control. Therefore, our findings show that normal adiposity, but greater SMM may have a positive impact on executive function in young adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: fat percentage; inhibitory control; obesity; skeletal muscle mass; underweight; working memory fat percentage; inhibitory control; obesity; skeletal muscle mass; underweight; working memory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Narimani, M.; Esmaeilzadeh, S.; Azevedo, L.B.; Moradi, A.; Heidari, B.; Kashfi-Moghadam, M. Association Between Weight Status and Executive Function in Young Adults. Medicina 2019, 55, 363.

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