Neuropsychological assessment as a predictor of weight loss in obese adolescents

Obese individuals are known to be more impulsive than their normal-weight counterparts. Impulsivity has been postulated to be a predictor of weight loss.  A pre-post study was designed by the authors to determine for the first time whether impulsivity changed with weight loss during a lifestyle and physical activity intervention programme lasting 2-8 weeks. They included 53 obese adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) of 33.75±7.9 attending a residential camp were tested and compared at baseline with 50 non-obese adolescents with a mean BMI of 20.6±2.3.

Results:The obese group was more impulsive than the normal weight adolescents. BMI reduced significantly from 33.76kgm to 30.93kgm after completing camp. This study highlights the potential to identify those who are obese by using an easy-to-measure psychometric test. Furthermore, it is the first study to report a reduction in impulsivity and an improvement in well-being as part of a government-approved residential camp for obese adolescents. The potential mechanisms for change in impulsivity with weight are discussed in detail by the authors in this article.