View Full Version : Link between early childhood nutrition and cognitive disability and behavioral problems

10-16-2009, 12:24 PM
Is there a link between children growing up with poor nutrition (not starvation, but generally poor eating habits think McDonalds and pop-tarts) and later difficulty in school either through learning disabilities or generally poor behavior? I know there are studies which link poor nutrition to lower IQ scores, but I am particularly interested in the effect it might have on behavior and diagnosable learning disabilities.

I know it is not even close to a conclusive trend, but my work focuses on children with behavioral problems in the classroom and I have observed a troubling amount of junk food in their diets. Can you point me to some studies that may have researched this link?

10-16-2009, 03:01 PM
Every study I've ever seen has only been able to show a correlation, not a cause. I see no way to show cause and effect. Maybe inheritable behavioral difficulties result in people growing up with a worse education, tending to buy junk food. Seems just as likely to me. Crappy diets usually still provide a decent level of vitamins and minerals, what with vitamin enrichment of white flour, etc.
These studies are much like the ones that show that ADHD kids play more video games and watch more TV. That doesn't necessarily mean the TV caused the ADHD; most therapists will tell you that ADHD kids self-select these activities because it soothes them.

10-16-2009, 10:56 PM
I don't see why behavioral difficulties would alter kids' tastes, but I could see how parents who let their kids do whatever they want would let them eat whatever they want.

Still... we don't do enough research on the effects of vitamins. It's always either testing patented drugs or finding out what gives cancer.