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Interventions and public health nutrition

Association of healthy lifestyle with cognitive function among Chinese older adults



Dietary patterns and daily life habits have been reported to be associated with cognitive function in European populations. We aimed to examine the associations of dietary patterns and daily life habits with cognitive function among Chinese old people.


We used 2011–2014 longitudinal data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) comprising 5716 participants with an average age of 82 years. Cognitive function was measured in 2014 based on the results of Mini-Mental Status Examination. Data on participants’ dietary patterns and daily life habits were collected during baseline survey. Logistic regression models and general linear models were adopted to estimate the associations of dietary pattern and daily life habit with cognitive function.


Compared with participants in the lowest quartile of lifestyle score, those in the highest quartile had a lower risk of cognitive impairment after controlling for all covariates (OR = 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.41–0.65, P < 0.001). Higher lifestyle score was associated with better cognitive function (β = 0.74, 95% CI, 0.55–0.93, P < 0.001). Participants with top quartile of dietary pattern had a lower risk of cognitive impairment (OR = 0.65, 95% CI, 0.51–0.81, P < 0.001). Similar trends were observed in daily life habit, showing that more exercises, moderate alcohol consumption, and non-smoking were associated with improved cognition status (OR = 0.64, 95% CI, 0.53–0.77, P < 0.001).


Our findings suggest that maintaining a healthy dietary pattern and carrying out outdoor exercises is associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment among Chinese old people.

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Fig. 1: Flowchart of participants selection.


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The study was supported by grants from the National Key Research and Development Project (2019YFC2003400), the Peking University Start-up Grant (BMU2018YJ002) and Beijing Technology and Business University Grant, China-Canada Joint Lab of Food Nutrition and Health (Beijing): 88442Y0033. The funding organizations had no role in the preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zheng Xie or Tao Huang.

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Wang, Z., Pang, Y., Liu, J. et al. Association of healthy lifestyle with cognitive function among Chinese older adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 75, 325–334 (2021).

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