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Study Links Unhealthy Diet At Age Three With Lower IQ Five Years Later

February 7, 2011: 08:41 AM EST

A British/Canadian study of 4,000 children born in 1991-92 has found that a diet of mainly processed food  high in fats and sugars at age three was associated with a lower IQ at the age of 8.5, whether or not the diet improved after that age. Likewise, a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients at age three was associated with a higher IQ at the age of 8.5. Every one point increase in dietary pattern was linked to a 1.2 increase in IQ. Dietary patterns between the ages of 4 and 7 had no impact on IQ. Researchers identified three dietary patterns: "processed;" "traditional" (meat and vegetables); and "health conscious" (salad, fruit, vegetables, rice and pasta). Scores were calculated for each pattern for each child.

Kate Northstone, et al. , "Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study", Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, February 07, 2011, © British Medical Journal Publishing Group
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