Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Too many unhealthy foods lower a child’s IQ
常吃高油糖鹽食物 學童會變笨

Students eat lunch at an elementary school in New Taipei City on June 6 last year.

Photo: Kuo Yen-hui, Liberty Times

Children with nutritionally balanced diets are smarter and there is science to back that up. A national nutrition survey in Taiwan and an Australian study show that children who regularly eat fatty, sugary and salty foods are significantly more at risk of performing poorly in school and having lower IQs.

Researchers from Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University conducted a study from 2001 to 2002, titled “A National Investigation of Nutritional Health for Elementary School Students,” which included 2,222 students throughout Taiwan, analyzing basic family characteristics, frequency of consumption, dietary habits and overall academic performance at school.

The study defined 13 types of nutritional foods (vegetables, fruits, dairy, yogurt, fermented milk, cheese, meat, fish, seafood, offal, eggs, soymilk and soybean products) and nine types of foods with little or no nutritional value (fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, fatty foods such as instant noodles, cakes and pastries, fatty snacks like potato chips and corn chips, as well as crackers and cookies, ice cream, ice pops, desserts and sugary drinks). Students and parents provided which types of foods they ate each week and how frequently they ate the foods, while teachers provided data regarding the overall performance of students in school.

The results of the study showed that the more frequently students ate foods with high nutritional value on a daily basis, the more likely they were to perform well in school, while students eating too many sweets and fried foods were more likely to perform poorly in school.

Students are more at risk of performing poorly in school the poorer their diet is. Even after eliminating factors such as gender, age, geographical location, where one’s parents come from and socioeconomic status, if a child has three or more poor nutritional factors in their diet, they are considerably more at risk — as much as three times more than average — of performing poorly in school.


1. investigation n.

調查 (diao4 cha2)

例: The police have launched an investigation.


2. characteristic n.

特性;特質 (te4 xing4; te4 zhi2)

例: The colorful tattoos on her face are one of her most distinguishing characteristics.


3. define v.

定義 (ding4 yi4)

例: This term is very difficult to define.


(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)







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