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Study: High television viewing and low physical activity can significantly worsen long-term cognitive function

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Too much TV, low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty may wors­en cog­ni­tive func­tion (Med­ical News Today):

The team’s study includ­ed more than 3,200 adults aged 18–30…Over 25 years, the researchers record­ed par­tic­i­pants’ tele­vi­sion view­ing time and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty levels…In the study, high tele­vi­sion view­ing was defined as more than 4 hours dai­ly, while low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty was defined as activ­i­ty below 300 Kcal per 50-minute ses­sion, three times week­ly. If par­tic­i­pants met these def­i­n­i­tions in more than two thirds of assess­ments, they were deemed as hav­ing a long-term pat­tern of high tele­vi­sion view­ing and low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.

At the end of the 25-year study peri­od, par­tic­i­pants took part in tests that assessed their cog­ni­tive func­tion, includ­ing mem­o­ry, exec­u­tive func­tion and pro­cess­ing speed.

Sev­en­teen per­cent of par­tic­i­pants had a long-term pat­tern of low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty over the 25 years, 11% had a long-term pat­tern of high tele­vi­sion view­ing and 3% had a long-term pat­tern of both.

The researchers found that high tele­vi­sion view­ing and low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty among par­tic­i­pants were inde­pen­dent­ly asso­ci­at­ed with sig­nif­i­cant­ly poor­er cog­ni­tive func­tion in mid-life, while sub­jects with both fac­tors were near­ly two times more like­ly to have worse cog­ni­tive func­tion in mid-life…“Because research indi­cates that Alzheimer’s and oth­er demen­tias devel­op over sev­er­al decades, increas­ing phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and reduc­ing seden­tary behav­ior begin­ning in ear­ly adult­hood may have a sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health impact.”

The Study

Effect of ear­ly adult pat­terns of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and tele­vi­sion view­ing on midlife cog­ni­tive func­tion (JAMA Psy­chi­a­try)

  • Objec­tive: To inves­ti­gate the asso­ci­a­tion between 25-year pat­terns of tele­vi­sion view­ing and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and mid-life cog­ni­tion
  • Con­clu­sions and Rel­e­vance: High tele­vi­sion view­ing and low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in ear­ly adult­hood were asso­ci­at­ed with worse midlife exec­u­tive func­tion and pro­cess­ing speed. This is one of the first stud­ies to demon­strate that these risk behav­iors may be crit­i­cal tar­gets for pre­ven­tion of cog­ni­tive aging even before mid­dle age.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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