Who’s Shocked To Find Out That Healthy Kids Have Higher IQs?

Hold on to your sippy cups ladies. Get prepared for a doozy of a medical discovery. Kids who eat a healthy diet have a higher IQ when they hit age eight. Insanity, right? I guess we all should finally stop hitting the McDonald’s drive-through. Or the play area.

Alright, alright. I can understand the researchers point here. It’s always nice to get a better understanding of the way our food choices help our body grow. The study of 7000 children and their diets was run by University of Adelaide Public Health researcher Dr. Lisa Smithers. She looked at their diet at six months, 15 months and two years. Then she came back and looked at their IQ at age eight.

So what did the researchers find? Dr. Smithers sums it up pretty nicely:

“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.”

I have to admit, I’m a little relieved that their idea of “healthy diet” sounds pretty basic. Brown rice with loads of veggies and a glass of milk for dinner? My household can handle that. Avoid regular sweets and soft drinks? That sounds like a reasonable request to me.

Of course, some might say that a measly two IQ points is nothing to get excited over. They have a valid point. But so does Dr. Smithers,

“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. It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children.”

She makes a good point that it’s not just about the IQ points. It really is about the effects healthy foods have on our bodies.

There is one factor that I would be interested to hear if they took into consideration. I didn’t see it mentioned whether the study accounted for socioeconomic status. Those in lower income households are normally less likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Lower income families also tend to have lower levels of education. That can obviously make an impact on a child’s IQ, as well as their ability to learn. It would be interesting to hear how the research would’ve accounted for that and if the research holds true across all income levels.

Either way, it’s not exactly a shocking revelation, but it’s still a good thing to know. If nothing else, it’s one more tool to use when your child refuses to try asparagus. “I’m trying to make you smarter!”

(Photo: tale/Shutterstock)

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