High Adolescent BMI Could Impact Cognitive Function in Midlife

High Adolescent BMI Could Impact Cognitive Function in Midlife

Higher Body Mass Index (BMI) in lower socioeconomic adolescence can affect cognitive function in midlife according to scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. BMI was calculated using a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. One third of adolescents in developed countries are overweight or obese. This particular study followed over five hundred adolescents beginning at the age of seventeen for thirty-three years. The oldest participant was 52 at the end of the study. Scientists found that increased weight was associated with global cognitive function. Researchers further find that there is a relationship between socioeconomic position and BMI as well as BMI and cognition in midlife. A higher BMI in adolescence along with a lower childhood socioeconomic position results in poorer cognitive function during midlife.

Key Points:

  • 1Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that higher Body Mass Index (BMI), if it begins in adolescence, can affect cognitive function in midlife. However, the effect appears to be restricted to adults who had lower socioeconomic position as children.
  • 2Overweight and obesity in adolescents have increased substantially in recent decades, and today affect a third of the adolescent population in some developed countries. While the dangers posed by high adult BMI on cognitive function in later life have been documented, the association of adolescent BMI with cognitive function in midlife has not yet been reported.
  • 3“In this population-based study of a Jerusalem cohort, followed longitudinally from adolescence for over 33 years, we found that higher BMI in late adolescence and the long-term cumulative burden of BMI predicted poorer cognitive function later in life.


To shed light on this issue, scientists at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of