What Older Adults Do While They Sit Affects Dementia Risk, Study Finds

Aug. 29, 2022
Older white male with glasses and mustache sitting with TV television remote in chair during afternoon daytime.

Researchers at the University of Arizona and University of Southern California explored the link between sedentary behavior and risk of dementia and found that type of activity matters when it comes to brain aging. The study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that adults ages 60 and older who sit for long periods watching TV - or engaging in other passive, sedentary behaviors - may be at increased risk of developing dementia. The study also showed that the risk is lower for those who are more active while sitting – engaging in behaviors like reading or using computers.

"Although we know that physical activity is good for our brain health, many of us think that if we are just more physically active during the day, we can counter the negative effects of time spent sitting," said study co-author Gene Alexander, a professor in the UArizona Department of Psychology and Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. "Our findings suggest that the brain impacts of sitting during our leisure activities are really separate from how physically active we are, and that being more mentally active, like when using computers, may be a key way to help counter the increased risk of dementia related to more passive sedentary behaviors, like watching TV."

Alexander Headshot

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