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Differences in association of leisure time activities and cognition in a racially/ethnically diverse cohort of older adults: Findings from the KHANDLE study



Leisure time activity is associated with better cognitive function but has not been well studied in racially/ethnically diverse cohorts, who may have different access to activities.


Frequency of participation in 10 leisure time activities (eg, reading, attending cultural events) and cognition (executive function, semantic memory, and verbal episodic memory) were assessed at Wave 1 in the Kaiser Healthy Aging and Diverse Life Experiences (KHANDLE) study, a prospective cohort initiated in 2017. Linear regression models adjusted for sociodemographics and depression estimated cross-sectional associations between leisure time activity variety and frequency and cognitive domains overall and by race/ethnicity. Logistic regression models estimated odds of cognitive impairment among those in the lowest quartiles of activity variety and frequency. All models controlled for age, sex, education, income, retirement status, and depression.


Higher leisure time activity variety was significantly associated with better cognition for all, except for verbal episodic memory among Asians (β = 0.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.004, 0.11) and semantic memory among Latinos (β = 0.04, 95% CI: -0.01, 0.08). Low activity variety was associated with nearly three-fold increased odds of cognitive impairment (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.87, 95% CI: 1.77, 4.64). Activity frequency was associated with higher executive function only among whites (β = 0.10, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.18). Patterns by race/ethnicity were not explained by education.


Engaging in a wider variety of leisure time activities may be more important than frequently participating in fewer activities for cognitive aging in racially/ethnically diverse cohorts.

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