Association of Family Nutrition and Physical Activity with Preschooler’s Working Memory: A Cross-Sectional Study among Mexican Children

Liliana Aguayo, Maria Pineros-Leano, Rifat B. Alam, Rosalba Aguirre-Pereyra, Andiara Schwingel, Solveig A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthy eating and active lifestyles are associated with children’s healthy weight and cognitive development. This study examines whether family behaviors relevant for nutrition and activity levels are associated with children’s working memory, independent of their weight status. A convenience sample of child–caregiver dyads (n = 85 dyads) were recruited from a public preschool serving a low-income community in central Mexico. Caregivers reported the frequency of ten family behaviors using the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity screening tool. Children completed a test of their ability to recall four words after a 60-s distraction task, an assessment of working memory. Multiple linear regression models were used to test the association of children’s working memory with each family behavior, adjusting for children’s sex, age, mother’s age and education, and subjective social status and then also adjusting for children’s age- and sex-specific body mass index percentile (BMI-P) and covariates. Higher frequency of breakfast intake was significantly associated with working memory (β = 0.57, p = 0.013). This association was independent of children’s BMI-P. Other family behaviors (frequent family mealtimes, limiting screen time, and others) were not significantly associated with children’s working memory. Frequent breakfast intake could benefit young children’s working memory, regardless of their weight status. This association merits further investigation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number506
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • family nutrition
  • working memory
  • Mexican children
  • health behaviors
  • physical activity
  • Physical activity
  • Family nutrition
  • Health behaviors
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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