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Good Diet, Preschool Helps Raise Smart Kids, Study Says

Update Date: Jan 28, 2013 04:22 AM EST

A good diet and a quality playschool can help you increase the intelligence quotient of your child, says a new study review. Researchers also found that parents engaging in interactive reading helped boost their child's IQ.

To know how effective diet and external environments were in improving a child's intelligence, researchers from New York University analyzed data available from studies conducted on the subject. The research team led by John Protzko, a doctoral student at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, created a database for the studies called the "Database of Raising Intelligence".

"Our aim in creating this database is to learn what works and what doesn't work to raise people's intelligence. For too long, findings have been disconnected and scattered throughout a wide variety of journals. The broad consensus about what works is founded on only two or three very high-profile studies," said Protzko.

Analysis of previous research done on assessing the impact of environment on a child's intelligence showed that early interventions, like a good diet and healthy environment, can help make a child smarter.

Increasing amounts of Omega-3 in diets of pregnant women increased IQ level of children by 3.5 points, researchers found, whereas enrolling the child in a good preschool increased the IQ level by 4 points. Also, researchers found that, in playschools that include a language development, the child's IQ rose by 7 points.

Essential fatty acids provide building blocks for the nervous system, according to a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

Researchers say that the environment of the preschool, along with exposure to language at an early age, boosts the child's IQ.

The study results also showed that when parents engaged in interactive reading, the child's IQ increased by 6 points.

"Our current findings strengthen earlier conclusions that complex environments build intelligence, but do cast doubt on others, including evidence that earlier interventions are always most effective," Protzko said in  the news release. "Overall, identifying the link between essential fatty acids and intelligence gives rise to tantalizing new questions for future research and we look forward to exploring this finding."

The study is published in the Perspectives on Psychological Science

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