Obesity can lead to impaired brain function, further unhealthy choices

For many people, losing weight isn't simply about looking better, it's about feeling better too. Those extra pounds can hold you back physically and emotionally, preventing you from going on a trip, joining a class or pursuing some other passion because of the potential self-consciousness or excessive exertion. In addition to these drawbacks, a new study has revealed that obesity may have a negative effect on how you think.

Last week, Timothy Verstynen, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology and researcher for Carnegie Mellon's Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, addressed the matter of obesity and mental ability at the Neuroscience Conference 2012, an annual event put on by the Society of Neuroscience, in New Orleans.

According to CNN's health-based blog, The Chart, Verstynen sought to investigate the cognitive ramifications of being overweight by conducting functioning MRI scans of adults of varying weights while they performed a set of brain-teasers. The 29 participants were shown a series of words and were asked to label the color of the text they had seen.

When the researchers reviewed the brain scans, they noticed that the participants defined as medically obese showed more neurological activity than other individuals in the study when faced with more challenging tests. This may sound positive, but, as the source points out, it indicates that their brains used up more energy to perform a given task compared to people of a more average size.

"The results imply that obese people are less efficient at making complex decisions," the source states. "[This] could be important for controlling impulse behavior."

Mental capability is as important as physical resilience when it comes to aging gracefully, so now is the time to take steps toward preserving your body and mind. The Longevity Centres of America offers medical weight loss in Houston and Denver for people seeking to shed the extra weight and get a new lease on life.