Healthy Lifestyle Related to Executive Functions in Chilean University Students: A Pilot Study

Felipe Caamaño-Navarrete, Carlos Arriagada-Hernández, Gerardo Fuentes-Vilugrón, Lorena Jara-Tomckowiack, Alvaro Levin-Catrilao, Pablo del Val Martín, Flavio Muñoz-Troncoso, Pedro Delgado-Floody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A negative lifestyle is reported to be related to cognitive problems. However, there is little information about this in relation to university students. The objective of the present study was to investigate the association between executive functions (EFs) and lifestyle parameters (i.e., physical activity (PA), sleep duration, screen time (ST), and food habits) among Chilean university students. Methods: This cross-sectional study included a total of 150 university students (94 females and 56 males, aged 21.28 ± 3.15 and 22.18 ± 2.90 years, respectively). Cognitive outcomes were measured using the CogniFit assessment battery. Lifestyle was measured through validated questionnaires. Results: Across the total sample, attention exhibited a positive association with PA h/week (β: 24.34 95% CI: 12.46 to 36.22, p = 0.001). Additionally, coordination was positively associated with PA h/week (β: 15.06 95% CI: 0.62 to 29.50, p < 0.041). PA h/week was positively linked with reasoning (β: 20.34 95% CI: 4.52 to 36.17, p = 0.012) and perception (β: 13.81 95% CI: 4.14 to 23.49, p = 0.005). Moreover, PA h/week was significantly linked to memory (β: 23.01 95% CI: 7.62 to 38.40, p = 0.004). In terms of the EFs, PA h/week showed a positive association with cognitive flexibility (β: 45.60 95% CI: 23.22 to 67.69, p = 0.001). Conclusions: In conclusion, lifestyle (PA h/week) was positively associated with EFs. Therefore, an increase in PA levels among these students should be a target for community- and university-based interventions in order to promote cognitive development such as attention, coordination, reasoning, perception, memory, and cognitive flexibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1022
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • executive function
  • lifestyle
  • physical activity
  • screen time
  • students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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