Faculty Member

In the U.S., it is estimated that over one-third of adults are obese (Body Mass Index (BMI)>30kg/m(2)). Previous studies suggest that obesity may be associated with deficits in cognitive performance and postural control. Increased BMI may challenge cognitive and postural performance in a variety of populations; however, most relevant studies have classified participants based on BMI values, which cannot be used to accurately assess the effects of adiposity on cognitive performance and postural control. The objective of the current study was to examine motor and cognitive responses for overweight and obese adults compared to normal weight individuals by using both BMI and adiposity measures. Ten normal weight (BMI=18-24.9kg/m(2)), ten overweight (BMI=25-29.9kg/m(2)), and ten obese (BMI=30-40kg/m(2)) adults were evaluated (age: 24±4 years). Participants were classified into three groups based on BMI values at the onset of the study, prior to body composition analysis. Participants performed (1) working memory task while maintaining upright stance, and (2) a battery of sensorimotor evaluations. Working memory reaction times, response accuracy, center-of-pressure (COP) path length, velocity, migration area, time to boundary values in anterior-posterior direction, and ankle-hip strategy-scores were calculated to evaluate cognitive-motor performance. No significant deficits in working memory performance were observed. Overall, measures of motor function deteriorated as BMI and body fat percentage increased. The relationship between deteriorating postural performance indices and body fat percentage were greater than those found between BMI and postural performance indices.