To assess the relationships between daily sedentary time (ST), prolonged ST, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and behavioral and neuroelectric indices of cognitive control in adults with overweight and obesity (OW/OB).
A cross-sectional design was used. Overall, 89 adults (BMI = 31.9 ± 4.9 kg/m2) provided measures of ST, prolonged ST (i.e., ST accumulated in ≥20 min), and MVPA from a hip-worn accelerometer worn over 7 days. Inhibitory control was measured with a modified Eriksen flanker task and cognitive flexibility with task switching. The amplitude and the latency of the P3 component of event-related potentials during each task were used as measures of attentional resource allocation and information processing speed, respectively.
After adjusting for ST and MVPA, prolonged ST was related to greater interference (i.e., a larger decrement in accuracy between congruent and incongruent trials of the flanker task) indicative of a specific relationship between prolonged ST and poorer inhibitory control. Before adjusting for ST, MVPA was related to a smaller Global Switch Cost expressed as larger (more positive) amplitude of the P3 difference wave (mixed-task minus single-task condition of the switch task). Adjustment for ST attenuated this association to non-significance.
Our findings suggest that future interventions focused on improving inhibitory control in adults with OW/OB should target restructuring ST in addition to current efforts to increase MVPA.
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Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, the University of Illinois; the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project 1009249. Additional support: the Hass Avocado Board (Institutional Award Number 079273). We thank the study participants.
Conflict of interest
HDH and NAK report grants from the Hass Avocado Board, during the study. All other authors have nothing to disclose.
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Pindus, D.M., Edwards, C.G., Walk, A.M. et al. The relationships between prolonged sedentary time, physical activity, cognitive control, and P3 in adults with overweight and obesity. Int J Obes 45, 746–757 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-020-00734-w