A diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food during early childhood may be associated with lower IQ in later childhood, says a new study.
The study, based on data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, found that a poor diet of a 3-year-old was directly correlated with a lower IQ assessment of an 8.5-year-old -- whether or not their diet improved after the older age.
"A possible explanation for this is that the brain grows at its fastest rate during the first three years of life. Studies have shown that head growth during this time is associated with cognitive outcome, and it is possible that good nutrition during this early period may encourage optimal brain growth," says the study, which involved approximately 14,000 children born in western England in 1991 and 1992.
The study recommends a healthy diet, begun at an early age, with high intake of nutrient-rich foods -- and physical activity.
What about your picky eater? Don't freak out, this "doesn't mean that feeding kids a lot of pizza, hot dogs and potato chips will cause a lower IQ. The authors found an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship," says ABC News.