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Physical activity and sedentary time are associated with children’s attentional processes
- Presented on May 21, 2014
Purpose: To evaluate the associations between physical activity, sedentary behavior and cognitive functions in children.
Methods: 230 Finnish children (mean age 12.2 years; 56% girls) participated in the study. Self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and screen time were evaluated with the questions used in the “WHO Health Behavior in School-aged Children” study. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured objectively for seven consecutive days using the ActiGraph GT1M/ GT3X accelerometer. A cut-off value of 2,296 counts per minute (cpm) was used for MVPA and 100 cpm for sedentary time. Cognitive functions including visual memory, executive functions and attention (reaction time and sustained attention) were evaluated with a computerized Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) using five different tests. Structural equation modeling was applied to examine how MVPA and sedentary behavior were associated with cognitive functions.
Results: A high level of objectively measured MVPA was associated with good performance in the reaction time test (p=0.026), independently of sedentary time and gender. A high level of objectively measured sedentary time was associated with good performance in the sustained attention test (p=0.003), independently of MVPA and mother’s education. Objectively measured MVPA and sedentary time were not associated with other measures of cognitive function. Self-reported MVPA and screen time were not associated with cognitive functions.
Conclusions: In this study, physical activity and sedentary time were associated with children’s attentional processes. More research is needed to clarify our understanding of the effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on cognitive prerequisites of learning.
ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference