March 28, 2009

Fat Kids are Dumb

Children who were more than 50% overweight by age 4 are borderline mentally retarded, study shows.

Extreme Obesity in Tots Tied to Low IQ
By Miranda Hitti
August 31, 2006

Average IQ scores were as follows:
Normal weight: 106
Morbidly obese: 77

[The range for normal IQ is 90-110. 70-80 is borderline mentally retarded, while 70 and below is mentally retarded. See full classification for IQ ranges.]

The lower scores are "not in the mentally retarded range but it's cognitively impaired, getting borderline," Driscoll says.

White Spots on Brain

Most participants also got brain scans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Those who were at least 11 years old and had been morbidly obese by age four tended to have spots seen by MRI in different parts of their brains. But their siblings didn’t.

Those spots seen on the MRIs aren’t fully understood. But they’re “not a good thing,” Driscoll says.

"We're not talking about older children, someone who gets obese at 12, or 23, or in their 40s or 50s,” Driscoll says. "Their brains are much more fully developed [by the time they become obese]."

The first few years of life are a critical time for brain development. Very young children "are full of potential, but their brains are very vulnerable," Driscoll says. "We need to be more diligent now."

Read the full article here

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