Overweight children develop dementia as they get older

pte20220620001 Medicine / Wellness, Research / Development

Scientists have followed over 1,200 teenagers in Australia for over 30 years

Dance: childhood fitness promotes cognitive development (Photo: energyinfo,

Melbourne (pte001 / 20.06.2022 / 06: 00) –

Obese children develop lower cognitive abilities over the years than their fitter peers. This was demonstrated by a 30-year observation from Monash University and the University of Tasmania with more than 1,200 children in Australia. Experts summarize attention, memory, learning, creativity, planning and orientation in cognitive skills. Education, for example at university, socio-economic status in childhood, and later smoking or alcohol consumption do not falsify the result, they say.

Prone to dementia in old age

According to Jamie Tait and Michele Callisaya of Monash University and their colleagues, in 1985 researchers measured exactly 1,244 children between the ages of seven and 15 for physical fitness (cardiovascular, muscle strength, muscle endurance) and body measurements. Between 2017 and 2019, when the participants were between the ages of 39 and 50, the scientists assessed their cognitive abilities. Result: The decline in cognitive performance had already begun in some middle-aged participants. In middle age, they noticed mild cognitive impairments that can lead to dementia in old age.

According to Callisaya, it is important to identify the risks of cognitive impairment early. “Developing strategies to improve fitness and reduce childhood obesity is important because it can help improve cognitive performance in middle age,” she says. It is particularly important that protective strategies against future cognitive decline must be developed in early childhood “so that the brain can develop sufficient reserves against the development of diseases such as dementia in old age.”


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