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Multiple Health Characteristics on Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Paul D. Edwards, Meghan K. Edwards, Chelsea Joyner, Elizabeth Crush.


Individual health characteristics, namely, physical activity, smoking and weight status, have a positive effect on cognitive function, especially during the aging process. However, fewer studies have evaluated the combined associations of these health characteristics on cognitive function among older adults, which was this study’s purpose. Data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used (N=2,370 adults 60+ yrs). Clinical measures were assessed using the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), self-reported physical activity and smoking status. Weight status was evaluated based on measured body mass index. Being a non-smoker (â = 2.44; 95% CI: -0.03-4.92; P=0.05) and meeting the physical activity guidelines (â = 5.73; 95% CI: 4.34-7.12; P

Key words: Aging; behavior; cognition; Digit Symbol Substitution Test; epidemiology; NHANES

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