Lifestyle Habits of Senior Executives and Implications for Cognitive Function
A Cross-Sectional Study
Lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption can profoundly affect long-term health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer as well as acute and long-term cognitive function. For those in leadership roles, stamina, a baseline level of good health, and optimal cognitive function are important for leadership performance and sustainability. The purpose of this study is to describe various biometric markers and lifestyle behaviors of senior level executives and the implications for health, leadership, and brain function. Data were collected from male (n = 2925) and female (n = 574) executives who attended the Leadership at the Peak (LaP) course at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) between November 2007 and July 2018. Fifty-two percent of male participants and 48% of female participants were maintenance exercisers. Only 2.2% of males and 0.7% of females were current smokers. Average servings of alcohol per week were 5.6 and 4.5 for males and females, respectively. However, 23% of executives reported drinking little to no alcohol. The average number of hours of sleep per day was 6.6 hours for both male and female executives. On average, executives were slightly overweight with an average body fat percentage of 22.6% for males and 30.1% for females and an average waist circumference of 82.7 cm and 97.5 cm for males and females, respectively. Non-high-density lipoprotein levels were above ideal at 138.3 mg/dL for males and 125.2 mg/dL for females. Daily servings of fruit and vegetable consumption was less than ideal, averaging 4.7 servings a day for females and 3.7 servings for males. Overall, senior executives are healthier than the average American; however, given that their jobs are cognitively demanding, strategies such as eating more nutrient-rich plant foods and getting adequate
sleep and regular exercise are increasingly important.