Are a healthy diet and physical activity synergistically associated with cognitive functioning in older adults?

W. Nijholt, Harriet Jager-Wittenaar, M. Visser, C.P. van der Schans, J. S. M. Hobbelen

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Previous research has demonstrated that being both physically active and adhering a healthy diet is associated with improved cognitive functioning; however, it remains unclear whether these factors act synergistically. We investigated the synergistic association of a healthy diet and being physically active with cognitive functioning. Cross-sectional study. Data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were used. We analyzed data from 2,165 community dwelling adults who were aged 55-85 years, 56% of whom were female. Cognitive functioning was assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), an MMSE score of > 26 indicates good cognitive functioning. Physical activity was assessed by the LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire and was considered sufficient if the person engaged in moderately intense physical activity a parts per thousand yen 20 min/day. A healthy diet score was based on the intake of fruit, vegetables and fish. Each of the food groups was assigned a score that ranged from 1 (well below the Dutch guideline for a healthy diet) to 4 (well above the Dutch guideline for a healthy diet), and the scores were aggregated to determine a healthy diet (healthy a parts per thousand yen 9 points). Multiple logistic and linear regression analyses were used to examine the (synergistic) association among physical activity, a healthy diet and cognitive functioning. All analyses were adjusted for potential chronic diseases and lifestyle confounders. Of all of the participants, 25% were diagnosed with a cognitive impairment (MMSE a parts per thousand currency sign26), 80% were physically active and 41% had a healthy diet. Sixty three percent of the participants both adhered to a healthy diet and were physically active. Sufficient daily physical activity (OR=2.545 p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-532
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition Health and Aging
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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