Ready for the next kick in the fat ass? There is a new study on teens, which claims being fat “impairs” their brains!
First, this is a tiny study (111 participants). And while they claim to make all kinds of “matches”, I don’t see how anyone can look at 111 teens and come up with any statistically significant information on anything, much less something as subjective as how their teen brains are working!
Second, in their “matching” there is nothing there about weight or BMI – however, they did use waist circumference as one of their standards for having metabolic syndrome.
Third, they list a bunch of physical differences in the brains, leading you to believe that this is significant information:
[S]maller hippocampal volumes, increased brain cerebrospinal fluid, and reductions of microstructural integrity in major white matter tracts.
But, according to a Harvard study on nutrition, hippocampal volume is not related to IQ.
And I could find no research showing any relationship between intelligence and increased brain cerebrospinal fluid, except in the extreme case of hydroencephalus.
And, not surprisingly, teens’ brains are still changing; a lot. Teenagers’ brains are still developing, and their IQs are changing (upward or downward).
So basically you could say, being a teenager “impairs” their brains.
And although brains tend to be somewhat gender specific when it comes to gray and white matter, it doesn’t make a difference in overall IQ. Women tend to have more white matter and men more gray matter, but it doesn’t manifest in differences in intellectual performance.
And that’s only the physical structure of the brain.
Just think how being a fat teen, with the accompanying psychological stresses (self-inflicted and inflicted by others) might affect test scores in things like arithmetic, spelling, attention, and mental flexibility.
And just in case you had any doubts about what this study wants to say, read the conclusion:
CONCLUSIONS: We document lower cognitive performance and reductions in brain structural integrity among adolescents with MetS [metabolic syndrome], thus suggesting that even relatively short-term impairments in metabolism, in the absence of clinically manifest vascular disease, may give rise to brain complications. In view of these alarming results, it is plausible that obesity-associated metabolic disease, short of type 2 diabetes mellitus, may be mechanistically linked to lower the academic and professional potential of adolescents. Although obesity may not be enough to stir clinicians or even parents into action, these results in adolescents strongly argue for an early and comprehensive intervention. We propose that brain function be introduced among the parameters that need to be evaluated when considering early treatment of childhood obesity.
The inflammatory language used makes it pretty clear how the author of this research feels about fat kids; or maybe they are just hoping that neurologists can get some of those big anti-fat dollars handed out by the government and the diet industry.