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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC Study Explores Relationship of BMI, IQ and Socioeconomic Factors in Iranian Preschool Children

The negative impact of obesity upon children’s physical and psychological health has been established as an issue of concern in countries around the world. Studies also have shown that childhood intelligence is inversely related to negative health outcomes later in life.

[Photo: Dr. Amir Alishahi Tabriz]

In exploring those two concepts, a new study aims to expand current understanding of the relationship between children’s body mass index (BMI) and cognitive ability (IQ) by considering the effects of 13 socioeconomic factors, including parents’ educational levels, breastfeeding, family financial security, and others.

Dr. Amir Alishahi Tabriz, doctoral student in health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is lead author of the research, published online Aug. 10 in the journal Nature—Nutrition and Diabetes.

Dr. Alishahi Tabriz and colleagues examined data on 1,151 preschool children in both rural and urban areas of Iran who were ages six or seven in the years between 2009 and 2013.

Study analysis found that the children’s IQ, as determined by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children administered as part of the study, was associated with household income, place of residence, type of delivery at birth (natural or Caesarean), type of infant feeding and parents’ education levels.

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