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Feb 26, 2016 11:53 AM EST

Obese adults have poor memory than their thin peers

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A new research study from Cambridge University suggests that young adults who are overweight may have poorer memory as compared to their peers, who are not overweight, Zee News reports.

The study was published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

The researchers found an association between high body mass index (BMI) and poorer performance on a test of 'episodic memory'.

For the study, the researchers studied 50 individuals aged 18-35 with BMIs ranging from 18 through to 51, who participated in a memory test.

The researchers found that obese people score 15% lower in the memory tests, as compared to the thinner people.

Overall, the research team found an association between higher BMI and poorer performance on the tasks.

Dr Lucy Cheke, from the University of Cambridge, told the BBC News website, "The suggestion we're making is that a higher BMI is having some reduction on the vividness of memory, but they're not drawing blanks and having amnesia.

"But if they have a less strong memory of a recent meal, with a less strong impact in the mind, then they may have less ability to regulate how much they eat later on."

The researchers found that other aspects of memory were unaffected.

"We're not saying that overweight people are necessarily more forgetful," said Dr Lucy Cheke, from the University of Cambridge.

"But if these results are generalizable to memory in everyday life, then it could be that overweight people are less able to vividly relive details of past events - such as their past meals. Research on the role of memory in eating suggests that this might impair their ability to use memory to help regulate consumption."

"In other words, it is possible that becoming overweight may make it harder to keep track of what and how much you have eaten, potentially making you more likely to overeat," Dr Cheke added, in a press release.

The researchers said that the structural and functional changes in the brain found in those with higher BMI might be accompanied by decreased ability to form and/or retrieve episodic memories.

"Increasingly, we're beginning to see that memory -- especially episodic memory, the kind where you mentally relive a past event -- is also important," Cheke said, according to UPI.

"How vividly we remember a recent meal, for example today's lunch, can make a difference to how hungry we feel and how much we are likely to reach out for that tasty chocolate bar later on."

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