Impact of obesity on central processing time rather than overall reaction time in young adult men

Mohammad Narimani, Samad Esmaeilzadeh, Arto J. Pesola, Liane B. Azevedo, Akbar Moradi, Behrouz Heidari, Malahat Kashfi-moghadam

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    Background and purpose: The association between weight status with simple cognitive tasks such as reaction time (RT) may not be observed in young people as cognitive functioning development has reached its peak. In the present study, we aimed to examine the association between overall and central adiposity with overall and central processing of RT in a sample of young adult men with different weight status from Ardabil, Iran. Methods: Eighty-six young males between June-July 2018 completed RT tests as well as premotor time (PMT) using surface electromyography changes in isometric contraction response to an audio stimulus. Results: No significant associations were observed between RT and PMT and different body mass index categories (underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese), as well as fat mass and fat to skeletal muscle mass ratio quartiles (Q). However, participants with greater waist to height ratio (WHtR) had longer PMT (but not RT) than their peers with lower WHtR (Q3 than Q2 and Q1 groups; p < 0.05, d = 1.23). Participants in the skeletal muscle mass quartile Q2 tended to have longer RT than participants in Q3 in an adjusted comparison model (p = 0.05, d = 0.72). Conclusions: Although the association between weight status and RT might be elusive in young adults, our results show that higher central adiposity is negatively associated with PMT in young adults. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore the changes in obesity indexes and process speed in longer terms. Level of evidence: Level I, experimental study.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages11
    JournalEating and Weight Disorders
    Early online date17 Jul 2019
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jul 2019


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