Cognitive ability does not predict objectively measured sedentary behavior: evidence from three older cohorts

Iva Cukic, Richard Shaw, Geoffrey Der, Sebastien Chastin, Manon Dontje, Jason Gill, John Starr, Dawn Skelton, Ratko Radakovic, Simon Cox, Philippa Dall, Catharine Gale, Ian Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Higher cognitive ability is associated with being more physically active. Much less is known about the associations between cognitive ability and sedentary behavior. Ours is the first study to examine whether historic and contemporaneous cognitive ability predicts objectively measured sedentary behavior in older age. Participants were drawn from 3 cohorts (Lothian Birth Cohort, 1936 [LBC1936] [n = 271]; and 2 West of Scotland Twenty-07 cohorts: 1950s [n = 310] and 1930s [n = 119]). Regression models were used to assess the associations between a range of cognitive tests measured at different points in the life course, with sedentary behavior in older age recorded over 7 days. Prior simple reaction time (RT) was significantly related to later sedentary time in the youngest, Twenty-07 1950s cohort (p=.04). The relationship was nonsignificant after controlling for long-standing illness or employment status, or after correcting for multiple comparisons in the initial model. None of the cognitive measures were related to sedentary behavior in either of the 2 older cohorts (LBC1936, Twenty-07 1930s). There was no association between any of the cognitive tests and the number of sit-to-stand transitions in any of the 3 cohorts. The meta-analytic estimates for the measures of simple and choice RT that were identical in all cohorts (n = 700) were also not significant. In conclusion, we found no evidence that objectively measured sedentary time in older adults is associated with measures of cognitive ability at different time points in life, including cognitive change from childhood to older age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • cognitive ability
  • sedentary behaviour
  • objective measures
  • intelligence
  • ActivPAL
  • humans
  • male
  • aging
  • female
  • aged
  • cognition/physiology
  • cohort studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Social Psychology
  • Ageing


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