Previous research has demonstrated that being both physically active and adhering a healthy diet is associated with improved cognitive functioning; however, it remains unclear whether these factors act synergistically. We investigated the synergistic association of a healthy diet and being physically active with cognitive functioning.
Data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were used. We analyzed data from 2,165 community dwelling adults who were aged 55-85 years, 56% of whom were female. Cognitive functioning was assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), an MMSE score of > 26 indicates good cognitive functioning. Physical activity was assessed by the LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire and was considered sufficient if the person engaged in moderately intense physical activity a parts per thousand yen 20 min/day. A healthy diet score was based on the intake of fruit, vegetables and fish. Each of the food groups was assigned a score that ranged from 1 (well below the Dutch guideline for a healthy diet) to 4 (well above the Dutch guideline for a healthy diet), and the scores were aggregated to determine a healthy diet (healthy a parts per thousand yen 9 points). Multiple logistic and linear regression analyses were used to examine the (synergistic) association among physical activity, a healthy diet and cognitive functioning. All analyses were adjusted for potential chronic diseases and lifestyle confounders.
Of all of the participants, 25% were diagnosed with a cognitive impairment (MMSE a parts per thousand currency sign26), 80% were physically active and 41% had a healthy diet. Sixty three percent of the participants both adhered to a healthy diet and were physically active. Sufficient daily physical activity (OR=2.545 p
The results of this cross-sectional study indicate that adherence to a healthy diet is independently related to cognitive functioning. Being physically active does not modify this association. Furthermore, these two lifestyle factors do not synergistically relate to cognitive functioning.