We all know that excess weight can come with a variety of heart problems, but according to new research, it can also mess with your mind as well.
Researchers at Kent University have found that carrying excessive weight can impair a person’s ability to pay attention and remember events, names and places. Their new findings have been published in the journal of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.
The researchers at Kent University looked at memory and attention in a group of 150 overweight participants. The group was split between those who had gastric bypass surgery and then those that did not. All of the participants were initially given tests to measure their ability to recall and then 12 weeks later given the same test again.
At the start of the test, 24 percent of the group had trouble learning the recollection exercises and 23 had problems remembering them. By the end of the 12 weeks, researchers saw boosts in those who had undergone surgery and declines in those who had not.
In an interview with TIME, John Gunstad, assistant professor of psychology said of the results:
“We were cautiously optimistic going in that we would see a positive effect from the weight loss, but it was still great to see it, if we can improve the condition with surgery, then we can see if we can produce the same change with behavioral weight loss as well.”
The results give another good reason, albeit an unexpected one, for us to keep in shape.