New York: Researchers have warned that daydreaming could increase a person's risk of obesity, as they fail to realise they have eaten too much when they are lost in their thoughts.
Scientists said the brains of overweight people are wired in a way that makes them prone to overeating. As a result, when they are daydreaming, they fail to recognise if they have already eaten too much food - and continue to eat, they warned.
The study looked at the effects of mindfulness on children's dietary habits. Using data from 38 children between the ages of eight and 13-five obese, six overweight, and the rest within a healthy weight range-the weight of each child was recorded, along with their answers from an eating behaviour questionnaire.
Researchers then used MRI scans to show activity in the regions of the brain thought to be associated with weight and eating habits: the inferior parietal lobe, the frontal pole, and the nucleus accumbens.
Their results showed that children who were either overweight or obese had stronger connections to the frontal pole, associated with impulsivity. This could mean their minds wander-rather than focusing on food-and make it more difficult for them to recognise when they have eaten too much.
Children within the healthy weight range however, had stronger connections to the inferior parietal lobe (linked to inhibition) allowing them to fully observe and stop their hunger cravings, the study said.
"We wanted to look at the way children's brains function in more detail so we can better understand what is happening neurologically in children who are obese," senior study author Dr Ronald Cowan explained.
The study was published in the Heliyon journal....