Implicitly, a lot of people indicate that obesity is caused by choices, and choices relate to cognition, Brown said. Its the ability to think about and understand choices, if you use cognitive ability as a proxy for the ability to make good choices.'”
Mental ability also is associated to higher pay and better education, which, theoretically, would lead people to live in safer neighborhoods with access to healthier food.
But factors other than smarts likely have a greater impact on obesity risk, Wright said.
The heritability of BMI is high greater than 50 so genetics are important within a population, he said. But obesity rates have also increased massively over the past four decades, far faster than any genetic changes could have occurred, so it’s clear that environmental factors have large effects on obesity, too.
One such factor could be the increased availability of cheap, energydense foods like fast food and processed foods, Wright said.
Johns Hopkins has more about obesity prevention.
SOURCES Liam Wright, PhD, senior research fellow, population health, University College London, U.K. Andrew Brown, PhD, biostatistics core director, Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Childrens Research Institute, Little Rock David Knopman, MD, neurologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. PLOS Medicine, April 13, 2023
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