V. The differential association of adiposity and fitness with cognitive control in preadolescent children

Matthew B. Pontifex, Keita Kamijo, Mark R. Scudder, Lauren B. Raine, Naiman A. Khan, Bonnie Hemrick, Ellen M. Evans, Darla M. Castelli, Kenneth A. Frank, Charles H. Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the increasing prevalence of sedentary behaviors during childhood, a greater understanding of the extent to which excess adiposity and aerobic fitness relate to cognitive health is of increasing importance. To date, however, the vast majority of research in this area has focused on adiposity or fitness, rather than the possible inter-relationship, as it relates to cognition. Accordingly, this study examined the differential associations between body composition, aerobic fitness, and cognitive control in a sample of 204 (96 female) preadolescent children. Participants completed a modified flanker task (i.e., inhibition) and a switch task (i.e., cognitive flexibility) to assess two aspects of cognitive control. Findings from this study indicate that fitness and adiposity appear to be separable factors as they relate to cognitive control, given that the interaction of fitness and adiposity was observed to be nonsignificant for both the flanker and switch tasks. Fitness exhibited an independent association with both inhibition and cognitive flexibility whereas adiposity exhibited an independent association only with cognitive flexibility. These results suggest that while childhood obesity and fitness appear to both be related to cognitive control, they may be differentially associated with its component processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-92
Number of pages21
JournalMonographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Pontifex, M. B., Kamijo, K., Scudder, M. R., Raine, L. B., Khan, N. A., Hemrick, B., Evans, E. M., Castelli, D. M., Frank, K. A., & Hillman, C. H. (2014). V. The differential association of adiposity and fitness with cognitive control in preadolescent children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79(4), 72-92. https://doi.org/10.1111/mono.12131