Role of physical activity in reducing cognitive decline in older mexican-american adults

Allison J. Ottenbacher, Soham Al Snih al snih, Saad M. Bindawas, Kyriakos Markides, James E. Graham, Rafael Samper Ternent, Mukaila Raji, Kenneth Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults from minority and disadvantaged populations is not well understood. This study examined the longitudinal association between physical activity and cognition in older Mexican Americans. The study methodology included a prospective cohort with longitudinal analysis of data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly. General linear mixed models were used to assess the associations and interactions between physical activity and cognitive function over 14 years. Community-based assessments were performed in participants' homes. Physical activity was recorded for 1,669 older Mexican Americans using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly. Cognition was measured using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and separated into memory and nonmemory components. A statistically significant positive association was observed between levels of physical activity and cognitive function after adjusting for age, sex, marital status, education, and comorbid health conditions. There was a statistically significant difference in MMSE scores over time between participants in the third (β = 0.11, standard error (SE) = 0.05) and fourth (β = 0.10, SE = 0.2) quartiles of physical activity and those in the first. The protective effect of physical activity on cognitive decline was evident for the memory component of the MMSE but not the nonmemory component after adjusting for covariates. Greater physical activity at baseline was associated with less cognitive decline over 14 years in older Mexican Americans. The reduction in cognitive decline appeared to be related to the memory components of cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1786-1791
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014



  • aging
  • cognition
  • Hispanic Americans
  • minority health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)

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