Junk Food Lowers Kids’ IQ

Need Motivation to Avoid Junk Food?

A recently published study will give you one more reason to stand firm: Kids who regularly eat chips, fries, cookies and fast food are more likely to have lower IQs.

Kids are masters at pestering their parents to convince them to buy what they want. After all, not only does junk food taste good, but advertisers specifically target kids to get their parents purchase their products.

Many parents don’t realize the foods their kids eat have direct consequences on not only their health, but brain growth, function and performance.

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, followed 14,000 British children born in 1991 and 1992, and checked in with them at three, four, seven and eight-and-a-half years old.

Cassie already is an expert in Pester Power.

During the study, parents provided answers to questionnaires concerning the children’s food and beverage consumption. Children fell into one of three categories based on their dietary habits. The “processed” diet was high in sugar and fats; the “traditional” diet included meat and potatoes; and the “health-conscious” diet centered around vegetables, fruits, pasta and rice. When the children were eight-and-a-half, IQ measurements were taken.

Study Outcome: Processed Food = Lower IQ
At the end of the study, there was complete date for 4,000 of the children. Those who ate more processed diets had an average IQ of 101, while those with the more health-conscious diets averaged 106. Even after taking into account other environmental factors, which can impact IQ, such as parental education level, maternal diet in pregnancy, socioeconomic status and stressful life events, the link persisted.

They theorized eating junk food starting at age three or before would have the greatest impact. After all that’s when there is the brain experiences the most growth. The director of research at the UK’s School Food Trust said, “Given that around 23 percent of children start school either overweight or obese, it’s absolutely clear that healthy choices as part of their early development will stand children in good stead — not only for keeping a healthy weight as they grow up, but, as this evidence suggests, improving their ability to do well at school.” (Source: Newscientist.com)

Sad Day in America
It’s surprising to me that many parents aren’t concerned. One on-line mom blogger after lamenting on what she should do, concluded the difference in her kids’ IQ wasn’t great enough to motivate her to cook. The ease of fast food and junk food were deciding factors for her. It’s a sad day in America when convenience trumps our children’s welfare.

Adelle Davis’ mantra popularized in the 60s, “You are what you eat,” is more true today than it was then. One thing is obvious: a diet incorporating nutritious, unprocessed foods does kids’ bodies — and brains — good.

Need ideas for healthy snacking? Click Here.

One thought on “Junk Food Lowers Kids’ IQ

  1. Jen says:

    What was the average IQ of the kids on the “traditional” diet including meat and potatoes?

    Research Report:
    Results After adjustment, the ‘processed’ (high fat and sugar content) pattern of diet at 3 years of age was negatively associated with IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age—a 1 SD increase in dietary pattern score was associated with a 1.67 point decrease in IQ (95% CI ?2.34 to ?1.00; p<0.0001). The ‘health-conscious’ (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) pattern at 8.5 years was positively associated with IQ: a 1 SD increase in pattern score led to a 1.20 point increase in IQ (95% CI 0.52 to 1.88; p=0.001).

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