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“I was a little skeptical at first… not that I didn’t think the idea was cute or that it could be used for a learning ...

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- Sarah Barnes-

Rainbow Blog

15 Jun 2013

Healthy Diet = Higher IQ

posted by: Kia

We are excited to share this guest blog post from the Dole Nutrition Institute!

Veggies Make Kids Smarter

Junk Food Diets Shave Points Off IQ Scores

It’s not just young growing bodies that need healthy foods — proper nutrition is needed for growing brains too! New research shows that skimping on nutrients — and overloading on fats and sugars — translates into lower IQ scores for kids.

British researchers looked at data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which followed the health, diet and well-being of several thousand children born in 1991 and 1992. Of these, data was gathered for 4,000 children, comparing dietary patterns with test scores. Based on questionnaires parents filled out when their children were 3, 4, 7 and 8 years old, diets were characterized as either “processed” (high in fat and sugar), “traditional” (e.g., meat and potatoes) or “health conscious,” (more fruit, vegetables, salads, etc.). IQ was measured at 8.5 years of age. The results: A “processed” diet significantly lowered IQ scores. The “health conscious” diet added points to IQ compared to “processed” and “traditional” diets. The authors note that a child’s brain grows at its fastest rate in the first three years of life, possibly explaining why early nutrition is linked to later mental ability.

These results build on previous research showing how diet impacts test scores. One University of Pittsburgh study found that higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids correlated with better academic performance. Children with the highest fruit and vegetable intakes are 60% more likely to pass literacy tests, while University of South Carolina researchers found that overweight children were nearly three times more likely to score poorly on tests measuring visual-spatial organization.

A great way to instill proper eating habits is to cook with your kids!

Be sure to visit to Dole Nutrition Institute website and sign up for their informative newsletter! Then connect with Dole on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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is a mom and the creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit; a tool that helps parents establish healthy habits by setting the goal of eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day. Kia is passionate about creating tools that help parents raise healthy kids!


3 Responses to “Healthy Diet = Higher IQ”

  1. Jennifer Essad says:

    Both of our kids always ate breakfast, they are now in the late 20′s and are still enjoying banana’s – yogurt – and granola or ceral

  2. patricia magliochetti says:

    i love eating healthy

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As a Naturopathic Doctor and mother I love the Rainbow chart. Engaging kids in healthy eating habits and establishing a healthy relationship with food at a young age is one of the best things a pare...Read More - Dr. Erika Holenski, B.Sc., ND-KW Health Connection

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