Research output

Article in Journal ()

A bidirectional relationship between executive function and health behavior: Evidence, implications, and future directions

Citation
Allan JL, McMinn D & Daly M (2016) A bidirectional relationship between executive function and health behavior: Evidence, implications, and future directions, Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, Art. No.: 386.

Abstract
Physically active lifestyles and other health-enhancing behaviors play an important role in preserving executive function into old age. Conversely, emerging research suggests that executive functions facilitate participation in a broad range of healthy behaviors including physical activity and reduced fatty food, tobacco, and alcohol consumption. They do this by supporting the volition, planning, performance monitoring, and inhibition necessary to enact intentions and override urges to engage in health damaging behavior. Here, we focus firstly on evidence suggesting that health-enhancing behaviors can induce improvements in executive function. We then switch our focus to findings linking executive function to the consistent performance of health-promoting behaviors and the avoidance of health risk behaviors. We suggest that executive function, health behavior, and disease processes are interdependent. In particular, we argue that a positive feedback loop may exist whereby health behavior-induced changes in executive function foster subsequent health-enhancing behaviors, which in turn help sustain efficient executive functions and good health. We conclude by outlining the implications of this reciprocal relationship for intervention strategies, the design of research studies, and the study of healthy aging.

Keywords
executive function; cognitive ability; health behavior; physical activity; substance use; diet; health

StatusPublished
AuthorsAllan Julia L, McMinn David, Daly Michael
Publication date23/08/2016
Publication date online23/08/2016
Date accepted by journal08/08/2016
PublisherFrontiers Media
ISSN 1662-4548
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Frontiers in Neuroscience: Volume 10 (2016)

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
My Portal