Obesity may make us more impulsive
In obese children, a region of the brain in charge of controlling impulsively, called the orbitofrontal cortex, appears to be shrunken compared with that of lean children, according to a study presented this year at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting in New York. Moreover, the smaller this brain region was, the more likely the adolescents were to eat impulsively, the researchers said.
While the study did not prove a cause-effect link, it’s possible that the children’s obesity reduced the size of their orbitofrontal cortex, the researchers said. Obesity is known to cause changes to the immune system, boosting inflammation in the body. This increased inflammation may impact the brain and “lead to a vicious cycle, where the obesity leads to inflammation, which damages certain parts of the brain, which in turn leads to more disinhibited eating and more obesity,” said study researcher Dr. Antonio Convit, of the New York University School of Medicine.