The Impact of Diet and Exercise on Anxiety and Learning in Sprague-Dawley Rats

Amanda G. Iglesias, California State University, Fullerton

Abstract

In society, there is currently an emphasis on understanding how diet and exercise habits affect our physical health. Individuals who are physically inactive and who have a diet that is not nutritionally balanced are generally at a greater risk for having a health issue. However, there is a lack of information regarding the impact diet and exercise has on mental health. Considering the lack of research in this area, we intend to identify the behavioral and cognitive effects a high-fat or a high-sucrose diet and physical activity have on anxiety and learning in Sprague-Dawley rats. An open field test is utilized in observing anxiety-like behavior through measures of exploratory movement in the animals. Furthermore, learning is assessed in a t-maze apparatus used to evaluate the amount of time animals need to learn a task. We hypothesize that a high-fat, a high-sucrose diet, or a lack of exercise, will result in anxiety-like behavior and learning challenges in the animals. Conversely, we theorize that a nutritionally balanced diet and access to an exercise wheel will have anxiolytic effects, and facilitate learning. If our hypotheses are validated, the information gained from the study will potentially contribute to a greater understanding of how diet and physical activity can improve overall well-being. Additionally, we aim to provide a connection between eating and exercise habits with emotion and cognition in an animal model.

 
Nov 12th, 11:45 AM Nov 12th, 12:00 PM

The Impact of Diet and Exercise on Anxiety and Learning in Sprague-Dawley Rats

Watkins 2141

In society, there is currently an emphasis on understanding how diet and exercise habits affect our physical health. Individuals who are physically inactive and who have a diet that is not nutritionally balanced are generally at a greater risk for having a health issue. However, there is a lack of information regarding the impact diet and exercise has on mental health. Considering the lack of research in this area, we intend to identify the behavioral and cognitive effects a high-fat or a high-sucrose diet and physical activity have on anxiety and learning in Sprague-Dawley rats. An open field test is utilized in observing anxiety-like behavior through measures of exploratory movement in the animals. Furthermore, learning is assessed in a t-maze apparatus used to evaluate the amount of time animals need to learn a task. We hypothesize that a high-fat, a high-sucrose diet, or a lack of exercise, will result in anxiety-like behavior and learning challenges in the animals. Conversely, we theorize that a nutritionally balanced diet and access to an exercise wheel will have anxiolytic effects, and facilitate learning. If our hypotheses are validated, the information gained from the study will potentially contribute to a greater understanding of how diet and physical activity can improve overall well-being. Additionally, we aim to provide a connection between eating and exercise habits with emotion and cognition in an animal model.