We evaluated the specific association between physical activity and cognitive function among a national sample of the broader US adult population with evidence of systemic hypertension.Methods:
Data from the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to identify 1554 older adults, aged 60–85 years, with evidence of hypertension. The Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) was used to assess cognitive function tasks of pairing and free recall among participants. Participants were asked open-ended questions about participation in leisure-time physical activity over the past 30 days. For each of the activities, metabolic equivalent of task-min-month were calculated. Those at or above 2000 metabolic equivalent of task-min-month (equivalent to 150 min/week) were defined as physically active.Results:
In an unadjusted weighted multivariable linear regression model, those meeting moderate-to-vigorous physical activity guidelines (vs. not) had a DSST score 8.3 units higher (β = 8.3; 95% confidence interval: 5.9–10.7; P < 0.001). After adjusting for age, sex, race-ethnicity, smoking status, energy intake, weight status, HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, cholesterol medication status, glycated hemoglobin, diabetes medication status, and blood pressure medication status, those meeting moderate-to-vigorous physical activity guidelines (vs. not) had a DSST score 6.23 units higher (β = 6.23; 95% confidence interval: 4.6–7.9; P < 0.001).Conclusion:
In this national sample of hypertensive older adults, meeting physical activity guidelines was associated with higher cognitive function.