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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Jul;58(7):1322-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02903.x. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Physical activity over the life course and its association with cognitive performance and impairment in old age.

Author information

1
Heart and Stroke Foundation, Center for Stroke Recovery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Laura.middleton@sunnybrook.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine how physical activity at various ages over the life course is associated with cognitive impairment in late life.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Four U.S. sites.

PARTICIPANTS:

Nine thousand three hundred forty-four women aged 65 and older (mean 71.6) who self-reported teenage, age 30, age 50, and late-life physical activity.

MEASUREMENTS:

Logistic regression was used to determine the association between physical activity status at each age and likelihood of cognitive impairment (modified Mini-Mental State Examination (mMMSE) score >1.5 standard deviations below the mean, mMMSE score</=22). Models were adjusted for age, education, marital status, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, depressive symptoms, smoking, and body mass index.

RESULTS:

Women who reported being physically active had a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment in late life than women who were inactive at each time (teenage: 8.5% vs 16.7%, adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=0.65, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.53-0.80; age 30: 8.9% vs 12.0%, AOR=0.80, 95% CI=0.67-0.96); age 50: 8.5% vs 13.1%, AOR=0.71, 95% CI=0.59-0.85; old age: 8.2% vs 15.9%, AOR=0.74, 95% CI=0.61-0.91). When the four times were analyzed together, teenage physical activity was most strongly associated with lower odds of late-life cognitive impairment (OR=0.73, 95% CI=0.58-0.92). However, women who were physically inactive as teenagers and became active in later life had lower risk than those who remained inactive.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women who reported being physically active at any point over the life course, especially as teenagers, had a lower likelihood of cognitive impairment in late life. Interventions should promote physical activity early in life and throughout the life course.

PMID:
20609030
PMCID:
PMC3662219
DOI:
10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02903.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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