The ActiveBrains Project – Association of Sedentary Behaviour with Brain Structure and Intelligence in Children with Overweight or Obesity

This ActiveBrains project research paper investigated the associations of different sedentary behaviours (SB) with gray matter volume and tested whether SB related to gray matter volume is associated with intelligence.

99 children with overweight or obesity aged 8–11 years participated in this cross-sectional study. SB was measured using the Youth Activity Profile-Spain questionnaire. T1-weighted images were acquired with a 3.0 T Magnetom Tim Trio system. Intelligence was assessed with the Kaufman Brief Test. Whole-brain voxel-wise multiple regression models were used to test the associations of each SB with gray matter volume.

Watching TV was associated with lower gray matter volume in six brain regions (β ranging −0.314 to −0.489 and cluster size 106 to 323 voxels; p < 0.001), playing video games in three brain regions (β ranging −0.391 to −0.359, and cluster size 96 to 461 voxels; p < 0.001) and total sedentary time in two brain regions (β ranging −0.341 to −0.352, and cluster size 897 to 2455 voxels; p < 0.001). No brain regions showed a significant positive association (all p > 0.05). Two brain regions were related, or borderline related, to intelligence.

SB could have the potential to negatively influence brain structure and, in turn, intelligence in children with overweight/obesity.