In the last 100 years, Americans over the age of 50 had gotten better in cognitive tests from one generation to the next. However, it does not look like Baby Boomers will continue this trend. A recent study has shown that cognitive scores have started declining in those born between 1948 and 1953, and scores decreased even further in those between born 1954 to 1959.
According to study author bDr. Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, cognitive decline is seen in all groups: men and women, all races and ethnicities, and across all education, income, and wealth levels. Zheng analyzed data on over 30,000 Americans who participated in the 1996 to 2014 Health and Retirement Survey. Participants were surveyed every two years as well as asked to complete a basic cognitive test.
What Is Going On?
Zheng’s hypothesis is that “this cognitive decline can be attributed to...higher levels of self-reported loneliness and depression, lack of physical activity, and obesity. It was also correlated with higher cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease) and the presence of psychiatric problems.
Increasing Risk Of Dementia
This study has concerning implications about the risk of dementia as these cohorts of people in their 50s and 60s grow older. One of the most actionable steps that you can take is concentrating on managing your metabolic health through diet and exercise. Just as important is to stay engaged with an activity that gives you a sense of purpose, such as working orvolunteering, as well as focusing on fostering your social connections.