Junk food linked to lower IQ

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 | In Health, Knowledge | Tags: , ,

Junk food linked to lower IQ
~ Junk food linked to lower IQ ~

Toddlers who have a diet high in processed food may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British study described as the biggest research of its kind.

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 year.

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 sugars; 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 significant difference in IQ among those who 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. It is very small difference, but it does make them less able to cope with education, less able to cope with some of the things in life.

The association between IQ and nutrition is a strongly debated issue because it can be skewed by many factors including economic and social background. Junk food had such an effect because it was preponderantly processed could lack vital vitamins and elements for cerebral development at a key stage in early childhood. A junk food diet is not conducive to good brain development.

Source Credit: AFP.


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