Recent research out of Australia has found that childhood IQ is linked to dietary patterns according to an article in Science Daily. The study looked at the eating habits of a group of children at6 months, 15 months, and two years of age and then looked at their IQs at 8 years of age. Apparently the children who consumed healthier diets had higher IQs than the children who consumed more “junk” food. While I think this is great, of course it’s good to see that there are positive benefits to eating a healthy diet, I was also a little curious about how they controlled for other factors which may have contributed to IQ levels. I read the full article and was pleased to see that they controlled for things such as maternal education and socioeconomic factors. The one thing that I had expected them to control for was parental IQ. Surprisingly, to me, they didn’t. Now, it’s been a long time since my psych degree but I’m pretty sure that the strongest predictor of IQ is parental, especially maternal, IQ. Why wouldn’t the researchers have controlled for this factor? I hate to disparage a study that is showing benefits to healthy eating but I also think that it’s important to be objective. Please, continue to feed your children a healthy diet.
Besides the fact that the researchers failed to control for the most important contributing factor to IQ, I don’t really think that IQ is all that meaningful a measurement of intelligence, nor is it a predictor of success. A high IQ doesn’t mean that you’re smarter than other people it just means that you’re better at the type of test they’re administering. It’s kind of like a mental BMI. Most people know that it’s not a great measure but we don’t really have anything better.