Previous research has shown that obesity is linked to a higher risk of cognitive impairment, but it is unclear if weight loss can improve cognitive function in overweight and obese people. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials and long-term cohort studies to assess the impact of voluntary weight loss on cognitive function in overweight and obese adults. The study included 20 articles on 1,019 people and was published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
The results showed that weight loss was linked to a statistically significant improvement in attention and memory in both the cohort and randomized-controlled trials. In addition, the cohort studies found a link between weight loss and improved executive function (a set of processes involved with controlling behavior) and the randomized-controlled trials showed a significant improvement in language. Health clubs provide a safe place to be active, and many offer programs for weight loss and management.
Veronese N, Facchini S, Stubbs B, Luchini C, Solmi M, Manzato E, Sergi G, Maggi S, Cosco T, Fontana L. Weight loss is associated with improvements in cognitive function among overweight and obese people: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Nov 24. pii: S0149-7634(16)30354-2. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.11.017. [Epub ahead of print].