Toddlers' junk food diet may lead to lower IQ

Source: Time Magazine's Healthland

A study comparing children’s IQs with their eating habits found that kids who ate more fast-food meals starting at age 3 had a slightly lower IQ by age 8.5 than kids who ate healthier foods. For each unit increase in processed food diets, kids lost 1.67 IQ points. On the other hand, kids gained 1.2 IQ points for each unit increase in healthy diets.

The IQ affected relates to kids’ verbal skills rather than their performance abilities—performance IQ relates to one’s innate intellectual ability, while verbal IQ relates to one’s education and environment, among other factors. Kids’ food consumption was measured and recorded by the parents, who completed reports on their children’s diets at ages 3, 4, 7, and 8.5. The quality of foods kids ate after age 3 did not greatly affect IQ level by age 8, meaning that the types of food a child eats matters most during their earliest years.