Cognitive ability and self-control in relation to dietary habits, physical activity and bodyweight in adolescents

Marianne Junger, Margit van Kampen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

    39 Citations (Scopus)
    63 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Background Previous studies showed that cognitive ability is related to health and mortality. The cause of this relationship remains largely unknown. One plausible explanation is that cognitive ability is related to behaviours that affect health. This study investigates whether cognitive ability is related to healthy dietary habits, physical activity and appropriate bodyweight in adolescents and examines whether self-control mediates the relationship between cognitive ability and health behaviour. Methods In total 201 high-school students aged between 15 and 20 participated in the study. They completed three cognitive tests, measuring cognitive ability, reaction time and memory span, and completed a questionnaire on self-control, dietary habits, physical activity and bodyweight. Results Results show that adolescents scoring high on the cognitive ability test have healthier dietary habits and engage more often in physical activity. Adolescents with high self-control have a healthier eating pattern, are more often physically active and have lower BMI's. Both reaction time and memory span were not related to dietary habits and physical activity. Self-control was not related to cognitive ability and could not, therefore, mediate the relationship between cognitive ability and health in this study. Conclusion In conclusion, the link between cognitive ability and health behaviour could explain - in part - the relationship between cognitive ability and health. Self-control cannot explain this link.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
    Volume7
    Issue number22
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2010

    Keywords

    • IR-96021

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive ability and self-control in relation to dietary habits, physical activity and bodyweight in adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this