Mechanisms and correlates of a healthy brain: a commentary

Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 2014 Dec;79(4):153-65. doi: 10.1111/mono.12135.


In this monograph, the message is that early inactivity and obesity lead to later chronic disease, and, as such, physical inactivity should be recognized as a public health crisis. Sedentary behavior, to some extent, serves a purpose in our current culture (e.g., keeping children indoors keeps them safe), and, as such, may not be amenable to change. Thus, it is important that we understand the underpinnings of later-developing chronic disease as this complex public health issue may have roots that go deeper than sedentary behavior. In this commentary, I speculate on the mechanisms for physical activity exacting positive changes on cognitive abilities. Three potential mechanisms are discussed: glucose transport, postnatal neurogenesis, and vitamin synthesis, all of which are inextricably linked to nutrition. This discussion of mechanisms is followed by a discussion of tractable correlates of the progression to non-communicable disease in the adult.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Relations
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time
  • Vitamins / biosynthesis


  • Vitamins
  • Glucose