Measurement matters: higher waist-to-hip ratio but not body mass index is associated with deficits in executive functions and episodic memory

Andree Hartanto, Jose C. Yong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
The current study aimed to reconcile the inconsistent findings between obesity, executive functions, and episodic memory by addressing major limitations of previous studies, including overreliance on body mass index (BMI), small sample sizes, and failure to control for confounds.

Methods
Participants consisted of 3,712 midlife adults from the Cognitive Project of the National Survey of Midlife Development. Executive functions and episodic memory were measured by a battery of cognitive function tests.

Results
We found that higher waist-to-hip ratio was associated with deficits in both executive functions and episodic memory, above and beyond the influence of demographics, comorbid health issues, health behaviors, personality traits, and self-perceived obesity. However, higher BMI was not associated with deficits in executive functions and episodic memory. More importantly, these differential associations were robust and stable across adulthood.

Discussion
Our findings confirm the association between obesity and episodic memory while highlighting the need for better measures of obesity when examining its associations with individual differences in cognitive functions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5624
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPeerJ
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement matters: higher waist-to-hip ratio but not body mass index is associated with deficits in executive functions and episodic memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this