Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life

The conclusion comes from a long-term investigation into 14,000 people born in western England in 1991 and 1992 whose health and well-being were monitored at the ages of three, four, seven and eight and a half. Parents of the children were asked to fill out questionnaires that, among other things, detailed the kind of food and drink their children consumed. Three dietary patterns emerged: one was high in processed fats and sugar; then there was a "traditional" diet high in meat and vegetables; and finally a "health-conscious" diet with lots of salad, fruit and vegetables, pasta and rice. When the children were eight and a half, their IQ was measured using a standard tool called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. Of the 4,000 children for which there were complete data, there was a significant difference in IQ among those who had had the "processed" as opposed to the "health-conscious" diets in early childhood. The 20% of children who ate the most processed food had an average IQ of 101 points, compared with 106 for the 20% of children who ate the most "health-conscious" food.

2 comments:

Sam said...

I wonder if they controlled for parents' IQ. It seems to me that more intelligent parents tend to eat healthier and encourage heather eating themselves. They would pass on their genes to their higher IQ children.

Average Joe said...

According to the original article the researchers controlled for factors such as maternal education and social class. This would seem to have indirectly controlled for IQ - at least on the mother's side.