September 22, 2011; Source: Arizona Daily Star | Arizonans are probably a bit discomfited by the finding from a new research study that the state “lost more brain health” than any other state in the nation between 2009 and 2011. The study was conducted by the nonprofit National Center for Creative Aging, affiliated with George Washington University, and life’s DHA, which obviously sells and promotes DHA Omega-3 products. According to the study, the factors contributing to brain health include:
- Diet and nutrition: A healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and added sugar but rich in brain-enhancing foods such as good fats like DHA omega-3, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and algal DHA supplements.
- Physical health: Staying physically active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week and making wise lifestyle decisions such as getting enough sleep and not smoking.
- Mental health: Continually challenging the brain through activities such as game playing, creative pursuits like gardening, dancing or painting, or learning a new language or skill.
- Social well-being: Nurturing human connections and engaging in social activities to give life purpose, such as volunteering.
It certainly sounds as if working with nonprofits, the sector that probably contributes the most to “giving life purpose,” helps brain health. While Arizona dropped the most in terms of brain health, Delaware gained the most. If you live in Maryland or Washington, D.C., congratulations. You’re in a locale where people are doing a lot for their brain health. Look at the rank-order list, though, to see which states could use lots of brain health improvement:
2. District of Columbia
41. South Carolina
29. Rhode Island
42. North Dakota
17. New York
6. New Hampshire
32. New Mexico
46. West Virginia
34. North Carolina
10. New Jersey
38. South Dakota
For those of us who were among the earliest Baby Boomers, the time is probably now or never to pay attention to brain health. It’s good for all of us that working with nonprofits may be one of the brain-healthier things we can do.—Rick Cohen