Intelligence in Childhood Leads to Vegetarian Diet Later in Life

A study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) indicates that children with higher Intelligence Quotients are more likely to become vegetarian later in life. The study, run by Dr Catharine Gale of the University of Southampton MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, followed 8,179 thirty-year old men and women, whose IQ had been tested at the age of ten. When they were polled about their eating habits, 366 (4.5 per cent) of participants said they were vegetarian. Of these, 9 (2.5 per cent) were vegan and 123 (33.6 per cent) stated they were vegetarian but reported eating some fish or chicken. Exclusion of those who said they were vegetarian but ate fish or chicken had little effect on the strength of this association.

‘Those who were vegetarian by the age of 30 had scored five IQ points above average at the age of ten. This can be partly accounted for by better education and higher occupational social class, but it remained statistically significant after adjusting for these factors.’

Recent evidence suggests that vegetarianism may be linked to lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of obesity and heart disease. This might help to explain why children who score higher on intelligence tests tend to have a lower risk of coronary heart disease in later life.

Professor Ian Deary from the University of Edinburgh, one of the study’s co-authors, adds: “As the only member of the research team who has never been a vegetarian I feel bound to emphasise that the link we have found might not be causal. Becoming vegetarian might be one of a number of more or less arbitrary cultural choices that clever people make, some of which might be beneficial to health, and some not.”

excerpted from the University of Southampton News Release.

Food for thought.

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