Early Childhood Nutrition Affects Adult Intellectual Development

A report from the July, 2008 journal issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine stated that early childhood nutrition may have a big impact in the development of intellectual capacity in adults. A study on the said subject showed that adults who have enjoyed improved nutrition in early childhood tend to score better in intellectual tests regardless of the number of years spent in school.

The said research, which included Aryeh D. Stein, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University in Atlanta, and his colleagues, analyzed data from a nutritional supplementation trial on Guatemalan children from four participating villages conducted between 1969 and 1977. Through the said trial, the participating children were either given atole- a protein-rich enhanced nutritional supplement or to fresco, which is a sugar sweetened beverage.

Aside from the said nutritional supplementation trial, intellectual testing and interviews were also conducted between 2002 and 2004 of the 1,448 surviving participants, now adults averaging 32 years old. Data from the said follow-up were also analyzed and evaluated.

The team found out that the participants who took atole during the supplementation trial aging from birth age to two years old were able to score higher on the intellectual tests composed of reading comprehension and cognitive functioning.

This group scored higher in the tests given than for groups who took atole at other ages and from those participants who have never taken it. Even when controlling other factors such as years of schooling taken by the participants, the association between intellectual function and early nutrition remained significant and relatively consistent.

The study suggested that there is a significant effect when it comes to intellectual functioning of children exposed to enhanced nutritional supplementation in their early years.

Source: pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2008a/0707.dtl#3