Volume 17, Issue S10 e054119
PUBLIC HEALTH
Free Access

Frequent leisure activity participation and cognitive change in the Study of Healthy Aging in African Americans (STAR)

Rachel L Peterson

Corresponding Author

Rachel L Peterson

University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA

Correspondence

Rachel L Peterson, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA

Email: [email protected]

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Kristen M George

Kristen M George

University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA

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Paola Gilsanz

Paola Gilsanz

Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, CA, USA

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Elizabeth Rose Mayeda

Elizabeth Rose Mayeda

University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Oanh L Meyer

Oanh L Meyer

University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA, USA

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Lisa L Barnes

Lisa L Barnes

Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA

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M Maria Glymour

M Maria Glymour

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

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Dan M Mungas

Dan M Mungas

University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA, USA

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Rachel A Whitmer

Rachel A Whitmer

University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA

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First published: 31 December 2021

Abstract

Background

Participation in leisure activities improves quality of life and is associated with lower dementia risk but has not been well studied in diverse populations. We examine type of leisure activities and cognitive change in older Black-Americans.

Method

In the STAR cohort, an ongoing study that characterizes predictors of cognitive aging in Black-Americans, 631 participants ages 50-102 reported engagement in 13 leisure activities that require cognitive, social, or physical skills on a 5-point Likert-type scale (almost daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or <yearly). Linear regression models examined the association of ≥weekly versus <weekly (reference) participation in individual activities measured at wave 1 with cognition assessed at wave 2 and cognitive change between waves 1-2. Executive function, semantic memory, and verbal episodic memory were assessed using the Spanish and English Neuropsychological Assessment Scales (SENAS) and z-standardized to wave 1 cohort distribution. Linear regression models adjusted for wave 1 age, gender, education, retirement status, time between waves, Southern state birth, and interview mode (phone/in person).

Result

Mean age was 68.3 (SD 8.6) years, 70% female, 36% <college educated, 56% retired and 37% Southern state birth (Table 1). Weekly activity participation ranged from >90% (reading, socializing) to 6% (attending cultural events; Table 2). Participants had better executive function scores in wave 2 if they reported they played games ≥weekly (β=0.18; 95% CI=0.05, 0.32) or read ≥weekly (β=0.30; 95% CI=0.03, 0.58) in wave 1 (Table 3). Playing games ≥weekly in wave 1 was also associated with higher wave 2 verbal episodic memory (β=0.15; 95% CI=0.004, 0.29), while ≥weekly arts and crafts participation was associated with lower Wave 2 verbal episodic memory (β=-0.21; 95% CI=-0.41, -0.01). Among participants who read ≥weekly in wave 1, executive function scores improved from wave 1 to wave 2 (β=0.20; 95% CI=0.02, 0.39; Table 4).

Conclusion

In this cohort of Black-Americans, those who read or play games weekly or more had better executive function; those who read weekly or more also had improved executive function from waves 1-2. Participation in leisure activities can be a way to maintain brain health and potentially reduce risk of cognitive decline.

 

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TABLE 2.  
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TABLE 3.  
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TABLE 4.  
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