Higher cognitive performance is prospectively associated with healthy dietary choices: the Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study.
- Public Health Research
OBJECTIVES: Few studies have examined whether cognitive function predicts dietary intake. The majority of research has focused on how diet can influence cognitive performance or risk for cognitive impairment in later life. The aim of this study was to examine prospective relationships between cognitive performance and dietary intake in participants of the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. DESIGN: A prospective study with neuropsychological testing at baseline and nutritional assessments measured a mean of 18 years later. SETTING: Community-dwelling individuals residing in central New York state. PARTICIPANTS: 333 participants free of dementia and stroke. MEASUREMENTS: The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) was assessed at baseline and dietary intake was measured using the Nutrition and Health Questionnaire. RESULTS: Higher WAIS Scores at baseline were prospectively associated with higher intakes of vegetables, meats, nuts and legumes, and fish, but inversely associated with consumption of total grains and carbonated soft drinks. After adjustment for sample selection, socioeconomic indicators, lifestyle factors (smoking and physical activity), and cardiovascular risk factors, the relations between higher cognitive performance and greater consumption of vegetables, meat, and fish, and lower consumption of grains remained significant. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that cognition early in life may influence dietary choices later in life.