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The effect of two multi-component behavior change interventions on cognitive functions

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  • Emil Bojsen-Møller
  • Rui Wang
  • Jonna Nilsson
  • Emerald G Heiland
  • Carl-Johan Boraxbekk
  • Lena V Kallings
  • Maria Ekblom
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BACKGROUND: We previously reported the effects of two cluster-randomized 6-month multi-component workplace interventions, targeting reducing sedentary behavior or increasing physical activity among office workers, on movement behaviors and cardiorespiratory fitness. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effects of these interventions on cognitive functions compared to a wait-list control group. The secondary aims were to examine if changes in cognition were related to change in cardiorespiratory fitness or movement behaviors and if age, sex, or cardiorespiratory fitness moderated these associations.

METHODS: Both interventions encompassed multi-components acting on the individual, environmental, and organizational levels and aimed to change physical activity patterns to improve mental health and cognitive function. Out of 263 included participants, 139 (mean age 43 years, 76% females) completed a neuropsychological test battery and wore accelerometers at baseline and 6-month follow-up. The intervention effect (aim 1) on cognitive composite scores (i.e., Executive Functions, Episodic Memory, Processing Speed, and Global Cognition) was investigated. Additionally, associations between changes in movement behaviors and cardiorespiratory fitness, and changes in cognition were examined (aim 2). Moreover, age, sex, and cardiorespiratory fitness level were investigated as possible moderators of change associations (aim 3).

RESULTS: Overall, cognitive performance improved from baseline to follow-up, but the change did not differ between the intervention groups and the control group. Changes in cardiorespiratory fitness or any movement behavior category did not predict changes in cognitive functions. The association between changes in time in bed and changes in both Executive Function and Global Cognition were moderated by age, such that a more positive relation was seen with increasing age. A less positive association was seen between changes in sedentary behavior and Processing Speed for men vs. women, whereas higher cardiorespiratory fitness was related to a more positive association between changes in moderate-intensity physical activity and Global Cognition.

CONCLUSION: The lack of an intervention effect on cognitive functions was expected since the intervention did not change movement behavior or fitness. Age, sex, and cardiorespiratory fitness level might moderate the relationships between movement behaviors and cognitive functions changes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN92968402 . Registered 09/04/2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1082
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Adult, Cardiorespiratory Fitness/psychology, Cognition, Executive Function, Exercise/psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Sedentary Behavior, Intervention, Sedentary behavior, Physical activity, Workplace, Cognitive function, Office workers

ID: 78452921