Physical activity and cognition in the northern Manhattan study

Joshua Z. Willey, Yeseon Park Moon, Rachel Ruder, Yuen K. Cheung, Ralph L. Sacco, Mitchell S.V. Elkind, Clinton B. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: To test the hypothesis that leisure time physical activity (PA) is associated with cognitive status. Methods: We assessed cognition using the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) at enrollment and using the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) administered annually since 2001 in the Northern Manhattan Study. Baseline measures of leisure time PA were collected via in-person questionnaires. Total PA was categorized into 3 groups based on the metabolic equivalent (MET) score, a composite of total reported intensity and time. We used linear regression models to examine the association of PA with MMSE, and generalized estimating equations for change in TICS-m over time. Results: There were 3,298 stroke-free participants with MMSE data (mean MMSE 26.0 ± 3.8) and 2,279 with TICS-m scores available. Compared to no PA, those with the upper quartile of MET scores had greater baseline MMSE scores (adjusted β = 0.4, p = 0.01) but no association with change in TICS-m over time. There were interactions (p < 0.05) between PA and both insurance and education; compared to no PA, those in the upper quartile of MET scores had a greater MMSE score only among those with Medicaid/no insurance (adjusted β = 0.83, p = 0.0005) and those who did not complete high school (adjusted β = 0.68, p = 0.001). Conclusions: Increased levels of PA were associated with better baseline MMSE, particularly among those with socioeconomic disadvantages, but not with cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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