Obesity impacts on iron homeostasis

World Iron Awareness Week LogoA study at the University of Sydney suggests that obesity impacts on iron homeostasis and emerging evidence indicates obesity may be related to increased cognitive decline.

During World Iron Awareness Week 2016, Massey University hosted a series of events including a public lecture with guest speaker, Dr Helen O’Connor, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney. Dr O’Connor is involved with research in the area of iron deficiency and obesity on cognition.

Dr O’Connor presented preliminary findings from an ongoing study at the public lecture, held at Massey University’s Albany campus in Auckland, and concluded obese individuals had significantly lower scores for attention and memory compared with normal weight individuals. Those with iron deficiency anaemia compared with iron replete participants also had lower scores for impulsivity and executive function.

Dr O’Connor’s research has also found obese women have higher Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) scores and lower quality-of-life (SF-36) measures.

Much work has already been undertaken on the effects of iron deficiency in children on cognition and so Dr O’Connor’s research in young obese women is interesting and further adds to the iron story. However, more longitudinal studies are needed to better understand the varying effects of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia.

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (August/September 2016) and is reproduced here with permission.


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