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Free-Living Physical Activity, Executive Function, and Kidney Disease

Emily Frith, Paul D. Loprinzi.


Objective: We evaluated the specific association between physical activity and cognition among older adults with kidney disease in the United States. Methods: Data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used to identify 66 older adults, between 60-85 years, with complete data on selected study variables. Diagnosis of kidney disease was assessed via self-report. Participation in physical activity was determined from self-report data. The DSST (Digit Symbol Substitution Test) was used to assess participant executive cognitive functioning tasks of pairing and free recall. Individuals were excluded if they had missing data on the study variables assessed, or if they self-reported having coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke or a heart attack. Results: Physical activity was associated with higher cognitive performance in this sample. After adjustments, those meeting MVPA guidelines (vs. not) had an 8.77 higher DSST score (β=8.77; 95% CI: 1.65-15.89; P=0.02). Also, after adjustments, for every 1 MET-min-month increase in MVPA, participants had a 0.0007 DSST increase (β=0.0007; 95% CI: -0.0001-0.001; P=0.08), although this result was not statistically significant. Conclusion: In this sample of older adults with kidney disease, there was a positive association between physical activity participation and higher levels of cognitive functioning.

Key words: Chronic disease; epidemiology; health promotion; mental health; physical activity

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