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Diet, preschool, reading may boost IQ

Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Diet, a quality preschool and engaging children in interactive reading are all ways that raise a young child's intelligence, U.S. researchers say.

John Protzko, a doctoral student at the New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; and Steinhardt Professors Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair conducted a meta-analysis of existing studies IQ intervention programs for young children.

The study, published in the Perspectives on Psychological Science, found overall, the results indicated certain dietary and environmental interventions could be effective in raising children's IQ.

Supplementing pregnant women and newborns with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids -- foods rich in omega-3 -- were found to boost children's IQ by more than 3.5 points.

These essential fatty acids may help raise intelligence by providing the building blocks for nerve cell development that the body cannot produce on its own, the researchers said.

However, there was insufficient research to determine whether other types of supplements -- including iron, B-complex vitamins, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, and zinc -- had beneficial effects on intelligence.

Enrolling an economically disadvantaged child into an early education intervention was found to raise his or her IQ by more than four points.

Interventions focused on interactive reading -- teaching parents how to engage their children while reading with them -- were found to raise children's IQ by more than six points, the study said.

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