Showcasing the Chilean Cogni-Action Project: Connections between physical, cognitive and socioeconomic factors in a large sample of schoolchildren




cognitive performance, nutritional status, physical fitness, body composition, healthy diet, socioeconomic vulnerability


Global concern has deepened in recent decades over alarming rates of obesity, sedentarism, insufficient physical activity and fitness levels, and unhealthy eating habits in children and adolescents. Parallelly, we have witnessed increased poverty and socioeconomic vulnerability worldwide. Understanding the intrinsic relationship between physical and cognitive health is crucial, and mounting evidence suggests a significant association. However, over 80% of existing data originate from high-income countries, representing a negligible fraction of the world's children. UNICEF projections indicate that by 2030, low- and low-middle-income countries will be home to approximately 63% of the global child and adolescent population. This highlights a substantial knowledge gap which the Cogni-Action Project, conducted in Chile, helps to address. Notably, Chile faces significant challenges, with child overweight-obesity rates reaching 54%, ranking highest in sedentarism, physical inactivity, sugary soft-drink consumption, and educational scores stagnant. Moreover, wealth inequality is stark, with the top 10% of the population owning 77% of the wealth. The Chilean Cogni-Action Project collected comprehensive data over three years (2017-2019) from 1,296 schoolchildren (10-14 years old) in the Valparaíso region. These data encompassed 789 variables spanning physical, psychosocial, cognitive, and lifestyle factors, as well as neuroimaging variables. The present article aims to contextualize and showcase this project based on the papers published to date. As universities and research institutions worldwide pursue similar endeavors, the necessity arises to share findings and methodologies to expedite knowledge development that can inform public policy and shape the agendas of pertinent institutions.


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2024-02-06 — Updated on 2024-02-14