O’Connor G, Julvez J, Fernandez-Barres S, Navarrete-Munoz EM, Murcia M, Tardon A, Galan IR, Amiano P, Ibarluzea J, Garcia-Esteban R, Vrijheid M, Sunyer J, Romaguera D. Association of lifestyle factors and neuropsychological development of 4-year-old children. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 5;17(16):5668. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17165668

BACKGROUND: We aimed to assess how lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, screen viewing, and physical activity, individually, as well as in a combined score, were associated with neuropsychological development in pre-school age children.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 1650 children of 4 years of age, from the Environment and Childhood Project (INMA) population-based birth cohorts in four regions of Spain. Children were classified per a childhood healthy lifestyle score (CHLS) with a range of 0 to 4 that included eating in concordance with the Mediterranean diet (1 point); reaching recommended sleep time (1 point); watching a maximum recommended screen time (1 point); and being physically active (1 point). The McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities (MSCA) were used to test neuropsychological development. Multi-adjusted linear regression models were created to assess the association with the lifestyle factors individually and as a combined score.

RESULTS: CHLS was not associated with MSCA general cognitive score (1-point increment = −0.5, 95% CI: −1.2, 0.2). Analyzed by separate lifestyle factors, physical activity had a significant negative association with MSCA score and less TV/screen time had a negative association with MSCA score.

CONCLUSION: In this cross-sectional study, a combined score of lifestyle factors is not related to neuropsychological development at pre-school age.

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