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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A bidirectional relationship between executive function and health behavior: Evidence, implications, and future directions
Author(s): Allan, Julia L
McMinn, David
Daly, Michael
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Keywords: executive function
cognitive ability
health behavior
physical activity
substance use
Issue Date: 23-Aug-2016
Date Deposited: 4-Nov-2016
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.
DOI Link: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00386
Rights: © 2016 Allan, McMinn and Daly. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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