The obese brain: the relationship between brain structure, neurocognitive functioning and motor coordination in obese children 

Het obese brein
01 January 2015 → 31 December 2017
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Biological and physiological psychology
    • Cognitive science and intelligent systems
    • Developmental psychology and ageing
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Neurosciences
    • Neurosciences
    • Neurosciences
neurocognitive functioning Obese brain
Project description

Pediatric obesity (OB) has reached an alarming level and is associated with negative health concerns. Although several studies were limited to the relationship between OB and OB-related behaviors (e.g. decreased physical activity (PA), poor motor coordination), recent insights suggests the implementation of a third factor, i.e. neurocognitive functioning (NF; attention, inhibition, processing speed), to understand OB and their related behaviors. Studies from our lab have shown that next to the direct consequence of excess mass, reduced motor coordination in obese children can be explained by NF-related problems. In addition, a few studies found evidence for improved NF in obese children after the completion of an exercise program. Despite these findings, further research is needed to learn more about the association between these factors. Therefore, this project will investigate the relationship between NF and poor motor coordination in obese children. Furthermore, a multidisciplinary treatment program will be implemented to examine the influence of physical activity on this relationship, which hopefully can help to better inform treatment development. Since there is evidence for a negative impact of OB on the brain, advanced brain imaging techniques will be used to clarify the potential relationship between brain structure, NF and poor motor coordination as well as to study the alterations in response to exercise.