Nutrition, immigration and health determinants are linked to verbal fluency among Anglophone adults in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)

Author
Fuller-Thomson, Esme
Saab, Z.
Davison, K. M.
Lin, Shen Lamson
Taler, V.
Kobayashi, K.
Tong, Hongmei
Faculty Advisor
Date
2020
Keywords
executive function , letter fluency , semantic fluency , Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) , immigrants , dietary intake
Abstract (summary)
Later-life cognitive impairment is an important health issue; however, little is known about the condition among diverse groups such as immigrants. This study aims to examine whether the healthy immigrant effect exists for verbal fluency, an indicator of cognitive functioning, among anglophone middleaged and older adults in Canada. Methods: Using from the baseline data of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), multiple linear regression was employed to compare associations among immigrants (recent and long-term) and Canadian-born residents without dementia for two verbal fluency tests, the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) and the Animal Fluency (AF) task. Covariates included socioeconomic, physical health, and dietary intake. Results: Of 8,574 anglophone participants (85.7% Canada-born, 74.8% aged 45-65 years, 81.8% married, 81.9% with a post-secondary degree), long-term immigrants (settled in Canada >20 years) performed significantly better than Canadian-born residents for the COWAT (42.8 vs 40.9) but not the AF task (22.4 vs 22.4). Results of the multivariable adjusted regression analyses showed that long-term immigrants performed better than Canadian-born peers in both the COWAT (B=1.57, 95% CI: 0.80-2.34) and the AF test (B=0.57, 95% CI: 0.19-0.95), but this advantage was not observed among recent immigrants. Other factors associated with low verbal fluency performance included being single, socioeconomically disadvantaged, having hypertension, excess body fat, and consuming low amounts of pulses/nuts or fruit/vegetables. Conclusions: Long-term immigrants had higher verbal fluency test scores than their Canadian-born counterparts. Immigration status, social, health and nutritional factors are important considerations for possible intervention and prevention strategies for cognitive impairment.
Publication Information
Fuller-Thomson, E., Saab, Z., Davison, K. M., LIN, S. L., Taler, V., Kobayashi, K., & Tong, H. M. (2020). Nutrition, immigration and health determinants are linked to verbal fluency among Anglophone adults in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 24(6), 672-680. DOI: 10.1007/s12603-020-1402-8
DOI
Notes
Item Type
Article
Language
English
Rights
All Rights Reserved