Study points to growing cognitive gap between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers

watching tv adultToo Much TV And Chill Could Reduce Brain Pow­er Over Time (NPR):

Researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co checked in with 3,247 peo­ple for 25 years, start­ing when they were young adults…People who got lit­tle exer­cise or watched at least three hours of TV a day did worse on tests mea­sur­ing cog­ni­tive focus and speed than those who got more exer­cise or watched less TV, accord­ing to the study, pub­lished in JAMA Psy­chi­a­try on Wednesday.

Then peo­ple who had both low phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and high TV had even worse per­for­mance. It was an even big­ger effect,” says Dr. Kris­tine Yaffe, a psy­chi­a­trist at UCSF and senior author on the study.

…Richards says it’s rea­son­able to think the gap in cog­ni­tive func­tion between high-vol­ume TV watch­ers and infre­quent watch­ers might widen over the years.”

Study: Effect of Ear­ly Adult Pat­terns of Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty and Tele­vi­sion View­ing on Midlife Cog­ni­tive Func­tion (JAMA Psy­chi­a­try). From the abstract:

  • Impor­tance: Seden­tary behav­iors and phys­i­cal inac­tiv­i­ty are not only increas­ing world­wide but also are crit­i­cal risk fac­tors for adverse health out­comes. Yet, few stud­ies have exam­ined the effects of seden­tary behav­ior on cog­ni­tion or the long-term role of either behav­ior in ear­ly to mid­dle adulthood.
  • 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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