Can a poor diet lower your child’s IQ?

We are well aware that a healthy and nutritious diet has many benefits for the development of young children, and recent studies have even shown that diet can have a significant impact on the intellect of our little learners.

Several studies, including research from Australia’s University of Adelaide and Bristol University in the UK, found that during those important early years of life, a diet that is high in sugar, fats and processed food can be associated with a lower IQ later on in childhood.

Children who took part in the studies had their eating habits analysed at various ages and developmental milestones, and then when the children reached 8 ½ years of age they took an intelligence quotient test.

The studies found that children who were provided with a healthy diet rich in dairy, fruit, vegetables, fish, rice and pasta, had an IQ score up to 2 points higher by the age of 8, than those children who had received a less nutritious diet while their young brains were developing.

“Diet supplies the nutrients needed for the development of neural tissues that occurs over the first 2 years of life,” said Dr Lisa Smithers, when the results of one study were released.

While the conclusion of the report published in the Journal of Epidemiology& Community Health stated that:

“There is evidence that a poor diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food content in early childhood may be associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood, while a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient-rich foods described at about the time of IQ assessment may be associated with small increases in IQ.”

At Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare we believe that good eating habits are an essential part of our preschool educational programs. The planning, preparation and serving of meals at the Cherry Bridge Station early learning centres is a vital part of our quality of care and all our meals are prepared on the premises in our own fully equipped kitchen. We use only quality ingredients; lean meats and chicken, fresh vegetables and fruits with a minimal amount of processed or frozen foods. We do not use frozen packaged meals that are re-heated.

So with the increasing threat of childhood obesity and research to suggest the numerous benefits of a nutritious diet, healthy eating, like other healthy habits, should be implemented and encouraged right from the start.

See our Cherry Bridge Station tips and tricks for healthy eating choices here!