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Associations of Class-Time Sitting, Stepping and Sit-to-Stand Transitions with Cognitive Functions and Brain Activity in Children

1
School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia
2
Physical Education and Sports Science (PESS) Academic Group, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637616, Singapore
3
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia
4
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia
5
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, Italian University of Sport and Movement, 00135 Rome, Italy
6
Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3220, Australia
7
Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Research Institute for Neuroscience, Education and Didactics, Patrizio Paoletti Foundation, 06081 Assisi, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091482
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract

Previous research showed that children’s physical activity is positively related to executive functions, whilst screen time shows negative associations. However, it is unclear how school-based sitting time and transitions from sitting to standing relate to cognition. We investigated the relationship between class time sitting/stepping/sit-to-stand transitions and cognitive functions in Grade 1–2 children. Overall, 149 children (7.7 ± 0.6 years old, 54% boys) participated. Measures included class time sitting/stepping/sit-to-stand transitions and: (i) response inhibition (i.e., response time and accuracy); (ii) lapses of attention; (iii) working memory; and (iv) brain activity (cortical haemodynamic response). Linear mixed-models, adjusting for age, sex, and clustering at the classroom level, found that more sitting time was associated with higher lapses of attention (β = 0.12, p < 0.05). Children who stepped more had quicker inhibition response time (β = −0.95, p < 0.01); however, they were less accurate in their responses (β = −0.30, p < 0.05) and this was also observed with sit-to-stand transitions (β = −0.26, p < 0.05). No associations were found with brain activity. In conclusion, reducing and breaking up sitting may help keep children focused, but the evidence regarding response inhibition is unclear. View Full-Text
Keywords: sedentary behaviour; executive functions; attention; brain activity; children; school-based; class time sedentary behaviour; executive functions; attention; brain activity; children; school-based; class time
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Mazzoli, E.; Teo, W.-P.; Salmon, J.; Pesce, C.; He, J.; Ben-Soussan, T.D.; Barnett, L.M. Associations of Class-Time Sitting, Stepping and Sit-to-Stand Transitions with Cognitive Functions and Brain Activity in Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1482.

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