Physical Activity As Medicine: Ageing, Lifestyle and Cognitive Function
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As the worlds population grows older, cognitive disorders are becoming more common. It is estimated that to date more than 20 million people worldwide have dementia, and the total prevalence of dementia is predicted to quadruple by 2040 due to demographic changes as well as increasing longevity. Currently, there is no cure for cognitive decline or dementia; therefore, finding lifestyle interventions which decrease the risk of cognitive decline or preserve cognitive function are of the utmost importance. This thesis comprises four manuscripts that explore the inter-relationships between physical activity, various lifestyle factors and cognitive function at different points across the lifespan.Studies one and two used data from the 2012 annual component of the Canadian Community Health Survey and studies three and four used data from the Midlife in the US (MIDUS) survey. The first study assessed the associations between physical activity, sedentary time, obesity (body mass index), and cognitive function in younger and older Canadian adults. The second study explored the relationships between physical activity, daily fruit and vegetable consumption, obesity (body mass index), and cognitive function in younger and older Canadian adults. The third study evaluated the inter-relationships between physical activity, number of medications used (type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol), obesity (waist-to-hip ratio) and cognitive function in adults between the ages of 25 to 84 years. The fourth study considered the relationships between physical activity, engagement in cognitively stimulating activities, obesity (waist-to-hip ratio) and cognitive function in adults between the ages of 25 to 84 years. Collectively, the findings of these studies contribute to a better understanding of the relationships that exist between lifestyle variables and cognitive function across the adult lifespan.