British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Nutritional status, brain development and scholastic achievement of Chilean high-school graduates from high and low intellectual quotient and socio-economic status

Daniza M. Ivanovica1 c1, Boris P. Leivaa1, Hernán T. Péreza1, Atilio F. Almagiàa2, Triana D. Toroa2, María Soledad C. Urrutiaa3, Nélida B. Inzunzaa4 and Enrique O. Boscha5

a1 University of Chile, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), Human and Clinical Nutrition Area, Santiago, Chile

a2 Catholic University of Valparaíso, Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Valparaíso, Chile

a3 Ministry of Education, Santiago, Chile

a4 Adventist University of Chile (Camino Tanilvoro S/N, Chillán, Chile) Loma Linda University, Loma Linda California 92350, USA

a5 Department of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Service, German Clinic of Santiago, Santiago, Chile

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to investigate the inter-relationships between nutritional status (past and current nutrition), brain development, and scholastic achievement (SA) of Chilean high-school graduates from high and low intellectual quotient (IQ) and socio-economic status (SES) (mean age 18·0 (SD 0·9) years). Results showed that independently of SES, high-school graduates with similar IQ have similar nutritional, brain development and SA variables. Multiple regression analysis between child IQ (dependent variable) and age, sex, SES, brain volume (BV), undernutrition during the first year of life, paternal and maternal IQ (independent variables) revealed that maternal IQ (P<0·0001), BV (P<0·0387) and severe undernutrition during the first year of life (P<0·0486), were the independent variables with the greatest explanatory power for child IQ variance (r2 0·707), without interaction with age, sex or SES. Child IQ (P<0·0001) was the only independent variable that explained both SA variance (r2 0·848) and academic aptitude test variance (r2 0·876) without interaction with age, sex or SES. These results confirm the hypotheses formulated for this study that: (1) independently of SES, high-school graduates with similar IQ have similar variables of nutritional status, brain development and SA; (2) past nutritional status, brain development, child IQ and SA are strongly and significantly inter-related. These findings are relevant in explaining the complex interactions between variables that affect IQ and SA and can be useful for nutritional and educational planning.

(Received August 07 2001)

(Revised June 04 2001)

(Accepted August 31 2001)

Correspondence:

c1 *Corresponding author: Professor Daniza M. Ivanovic, present address Avda. Macul 5540, PO Box 138-11, Santiago, Chile, fax +56 2 221 4030, email inta8@abello.dic.uchile.cl

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