Background

Stronger cognitive function (CF) is associated with adherence to prescription medications, better program adherence and weight loss (WL) following bariatric surgery.

Methods

We evaluated the association between baseline CF, adherence to program components and WL in 107 (Mage=40.9 yrs.), overweight/obese (BMI=35.6 kg/m2) men (N=17) and women (N=90) who completed a 3-mo. WL intervention. Participants were asked to attend weekly behavioral sessions, comply with a reduced calorie diet and complete 100 min of moderate intensity physical activity (PA)/wk. CF, body weight and cardiovascular fitness were assessed at baseline and 3-mos. Session attendance, adherence to PA and diet prescriptions and number of off-diet episodes were recorded weekly.

Results

Results indicated that attention (Flanker) was positively correlated with session attendance (p=0.016), adherence to the diet (p<0.01) and PA (p=0.023). Executive control (Stroop) was positively correlated with WL (p=0.042). Working memory (two spatial tasks) was also positively correlated with WL (p=.017 and p=.025). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that baseline attention (p=.012) was positively related to WL and negatively associated with drop out (p<.05). Hierarchical linear regression showed executive control (p=.036, R2=.054) and working memory (p=.013, R2=.073 and p=.017, R2=.068) were associated with WL when controlling for fitness.

Conclusions

These results suggest that stronger baseline attention is associated with better adherence and successful completion of a 3-mo. WL intervention. Executive control and working memory are associated with amount of WL achieved. Additional, longer trials to assess the role of baseline CF on WL and evaluating the impact of interventions designed to improve CF on WL are indicated.