A team of experts from Monash University in Australia has conducted the world’s first study on the effects of obesity on childhood fitness and cognition in middle age. And the relationship is important. Researchers looked at more than 1,200 people and over 30 years since 1985 and found that better performance on physical tests is associated with better cognition later in life and may protect against dementia later in life.
The scientists wanted to emphasize that study results are not affected by academic ability and socioeconomic status in childhood or tobacco and alcohol consumption in middle age. They have to do with physical activity only.
Physically active children have better health outcomes later in life
The research is published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. It outlines how children who develop muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and stamina due to sports and activity are known to have better health outcomes later in life. Higher fitness in adults is also associated with better cognition and a lower risk of dementia later in life.
In 1985, participants aged 7 to 15 years were followed for cardiorespiratory function, muscle strength, muscular endurance, and anthropometry. Then, between 2017 and 2019 (when their average age was 44 years), their cognitive function was analyzed through a series of tests.
The researchers found that children with the highest levels of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and lower waist-to-hip ratios had higher scores in mid-life on tests of processing speed and attention, as well as global cognitive function.
Since decline in cognitive performance can begin in mid-life, and low cognition in mid-life is associated with a higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia in later life, experts believe that these factors may It is important to identify which may protect against subsequent cognitive decline. Life
“Developing strategies that improve poor physical fitness and reduce levels of childhood obesity is important because it may contribute to improving cognitive performance in midlife,” he says.
“Importantly, the study also indicates that protective strategies against future cognitive decline may begin in early childhood, so that the brain develops sufficient reserves against the development of conditions such as dementia in old age.”