Healthier Diets For Children Lead To Better IQ
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
According to new research from the University of Adelaide, children who eat healthier may have a slightly higher IQ while those that have a junk food diet might have a slightly lower IQ.
Dr. Lisa Smithers, a Public Health researcher at the University of Adelaide led the study. She examined the link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months and two years, and their IQ at eight years of age.
The study compared a range of dietary patterns in over 7000 children. This included breastfeeding, ready-prepared baby foods, contemporary home-prepared food and junk foods.
“Diet supplies the nutrients needed for the development of brain tissues in the first two years of life, and the aim of this study was to look at what impact diet would have on children’s IQs,” Dr. Smithers said.
“We found that children who were breastfed at six months and had a healthy diet regularly including foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months, had an IQ up to two points higher by age eight.”
“Those children who had a diet regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soft drinks and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight.”
“We also found some negative impact on IQ from ready-prepared baby foods given at six months, but some positive associations when given at 24 months,” according to Dr. Smithers.
“This study reinforces the need to provide children with healthy foods at a crucial, formative time in their lives.”
“While the differences in IQ are not huge, this study provides some of the strongest evidence to date that dietary patterns from six to 24 months have a small but significant effect on IQ at eight years of age,” Dr. Smithers says.
“It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children,” she says.
The results of this study have been published online in the European Journal of Epidemiology.