CitationYang, Yingkai; Shields, Grant S.; Wu, Qian; Liu, Yanling; & Guo, Cheng (2019). Obesity is associated with poor working memory in women, not men: Findings from a nationally representative dataset of U.S. adults. Eating Behaviors. vol. 35
AbstractA growing body of research has linked obesity to lower working memory performance. However, sex differences are often found in associations between obesity and cognition, and little work has examined potential sex differences in the association between obesity and working memory. To address this issue, the present research uses data from Wave IV of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 4,769, mean age = 29) to examine whether sex moderated the association between excess weight and working memory. As expected, we found that obesity was associated with poorer working memory, but—importantly—this association was exclusively seen in women, not men. These results held when treating BMI as a continuous or categorical variable (e.g., normal weight, obese), as well as with and without controlling for covariates. The present results therefore indicate that the association between obesity and poorer working memory performance may be sex-dependent. These results suggest that interventions targeted at reducing obesity should be tailored to an individual’s sex, as adherence to these interventions often requires working memory.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleEating Behaviors
Shields, Grant S.