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Are fat kids dumber than skinny kids?

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Researchers from the University of Bristol studied data on nearly 4,000 children born between 1991 and 1992. The children’s parents filled out surveys on their kids’ diets at ages 3, 4, 7 and 8 1/2. When the kids were 8 1/2 years old, researchers measured their IQs.

Kids with diets high in processed or fast foods at age 3 showed a small drop in IQ at age 8 1/2 when compared to kids who ate healthy foods. Specifically, for each unit increase in processed foods, IQs dropped 1.67 points and conversely, for each unit increase in healthy foods, the children’s IQs gained 1.2 points.

It could be easily presumed the differences in the families’ financial means were a contributing factor, however, the children included in the study were all more likely to be from homes their parents owned and to be from high socioeconomic backgrounds.

Are sugar and fat eroding our minds and not just our bodies?

2 Comments

  1. Ryan kinda beat me to it but I’ll proffer my theorem anyway: Maybe the dumber parents provide their families with less healthful food. The parents then pass their relative dumbness along to their children but there’s no actual nexus of food-quality to dumbness.

    Makes perfect sense to me. ;-)

  2. Ryan Feb 15, 2011

    What’s that thing they teach you in the first week of a beginning Statistics course? Oh that’s right. “Correlation does not imply causation.” How bout this? The kids who ate healthy either had parents who cared more, or was in a situation where both parents didn’t have to work to put food on the table, that taught them things outside of the classroom. Therefore, we are not viewing the effects of BMI on the brain, but that of an increased exposure to learning.

    But what do I know? I’m not a scientist paid off by some anti-fastfood PAC to portray the industry in a poor light.

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