Study links later-in-life cognitive dysfunction with lack of physical activity and hours of TV watching.
A new study is suggesting that young adults who watch a lot of TV in their early years are going to suffer from a lack of cognitive function when they reach middle-age.
An article on Newsmax, cites a study from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, in which staff researcher Tina Hoang said the team found low physical activity and high TV watching to be associated with worse cognitive functions at a later point in life.
The surprising part of the findings were that the negative impact began to occur to those in their 50’s and that most previous studies had focused on seniors instead.
Hoang cautioned that the work was very preliminary, and more studies need to be completed to show if the TV time and lack of physical activity actually caused the decline in cognitive function.
The study involved more than 3,200 men and women who were around 25 years of age when the study began. Fifty-five percent of the participants were white, and 57 percent were women, with 90 percent having a high school education or better.
During the study, which took 25 years to complete, the participants were asked to complete at lease three questionnaires going into great detail about their lifestyles.
The research team defined high TV viewing as more than three hours per day during the year prior to the survey.
The team also evaluated the exercise habits of the individuals, by calculating an exercise score, based on the duration and intensity of their exercise.
They assessed the mental capacity of the participants by evaluating their verbal memory skills and the ability and speed with which they were able to perform mental tasks.
Of the participants, the research team found 11 percent were classified as high TV watchers, based on the team’s criteria, and the findings revealed they were more likely to fare poorly on most of the mental function testing than their counterparts. One exception was noted, in that the high-TV watchers fared better than the others in verbal memory testing.
Those participants that were classified as low in physical activity also fared worse in mental testing than the the more active subjects. Those with low scores in both TV watching and physical activity were found to be at double the risk for poor mental performance by middle-age.
Hoang said the research team tried to control for outside factors, like education, BMI, and smoking or alcohol use, but did not rule out that there may be other influences.
The study was published in the online edition of JAMA Psychiatry.