Sedentary Lifestyle And Effects On Health

midlife cognitive function

The Effects That A Sedentary Lifestyle And Too Much Television Viewing Has On Middle-Aged Adults

There has been a notable increase, worldwide, of sedentary behaviors and less physical activity, both of which are critical factors to our health. For decades, we have read about the risk factors associated with low amounts of physical activity, which is most often associated with a sedentary lifestyle and too much television viewing. Some may even believe the effects of a sedentary lifestyle may not begin to affect a person until much later in life. A new study proves otherwise.midlife cognitive function

To date, there have been few studies conducted that examine the health effects of sedentary behavior, including its effect on cognition, especially in the long-term for middle-aged adults. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry reviews the association between 25-year patterns of physical activity and television viewing and its effect on midlife cognition. The results may surprise you.

The study included 3,247 adults (participants were of both black and white race, male and female), ages 18-30. The span of research ranged from March 1985 to August 2011. Researchers assessed the amount of television viewing and physical activity levels by conducting three assessments, over the course of 25 years, using a validated questionnaire. A high amount of television viewing was considered to be three or more hours a day for more than two-thirds of the visits conducted. To assess cognition, researchers used the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), Stroop test, and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test.

All data was analyzed between June 2014 and April 2015. The results of this study concluded that participants with high amounts of television viewing and lower amounts of physical activity during early adulthood experienced worse cognitive aging, such as processing speed and midlife executive function than participants who viewed television less and had higher levels of physical activity. This study is one of the firsts of its kind to assess these risk behaviors as crucial elements for preventing cognitive aging before middle age.

The JAMA Network Journals. (2015, December 2). How much TV you watch as a young adult may affect midlife cognitive function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 9, 2015 from