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Study: Toddlers' Poor Eating Habits May Lower IQ

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A diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food during early childhood may be associated with lower IQ in later childhood, says a new study.

toddler eating

The study, based on data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, found that a poor diet of a 3-year-old was directly correlated with a lower IQ assessment of an 8.5-year-old -- whether or not their diet improved after the older age.

"A possible explanation for this is that the brain grows at its fastest rate during the first three years of life. Studies have shown that head growth during this time is associated with cognitive outcome, and it is possible that good nutrition during this early period may encourage optimal brain growth," says the study, which involved approximately 14,000 children born in western England in 1991 and 1992.

The study recommends a healthy diet, begun at an early age, with high intake of nutrient-rich foods -- and physical activity.

What about your picky eater? Don't freak out, this "doesn't mean that feeding kids a lot of pizza, hot dogs and potato chips will cause a lower IQ. The authors found an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship," says ABC News.

Moms, we know raising healthy kids is no easy feat. Momlogic is here for you! These stories will help:

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
cramburry February 9, 2011, 9:09 AM
anonymous February 9, 2011, 2:03 PM

I’d like to take the time to remind everyone that correlation does not imply causation. A confounding variable is likely present.

Essentially, wealthier people can afford nicer food for their babies, which also means they can afford staying home with them and providing stimulating activities. Those less fortunate cannot.

Odell Vacio February 10, 2011, 2:53 PM

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Best of You Today April 21, 2011, 4:24 PM

Hey mommys! Best of You Today has an exciting interview with Dr. Bob Sears on May 10th. In case you don’t know him, he’s a big time pediatric and has been featured on Dr. Phil and The Doctors. Email us at or visit our website at for more information on how to be on the calls or have your questions answered! Yes! You heard us! You can be on the call with Dr. Bob Sears.

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