University of Adelaide Public Health researchers conducted a study recently on more than 13,000 full term babies. The researchers say that they have linked weight gain in the first four weeks after birth with IQ scores later in life. They say that the children who gained 40% of their body weight in the first four weeks after birth have considerably higher IQ’s than those who do not gain as much weight.
They also noted that those with larger head circumference also had higher IQ’s.
“Overall, newborn children who grew faster in the first four weeks had higher IQ scores later in life,” she says.
“Those children who gained the most weight scored especially high on verbal IQ at age 6. This may be because the neural structures for verbal IQ develop earlier in life, which means the rapid weight gain during that neonatal period could be having a direct cognitive benefit for the child.”
Previous studies have shown the association between early postnatal diet and IQ, but this is the first study of its kind to focus on the IQ benefits of rapid weight gain in the first month of life for healthy newborn babies.
Dr Smithers says the study further highlights the need for successful feeding of newborn babies.
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