Many visitors of our website have asked about the tips for raising healthy and smart kids. Based on the leading research studies around the globe, we are summarizing the key factors that impact a child’s IQ. A good exercise for the readers would be to make a checklist of these items and go through the list to see if they are doing everything they could do for raising healthy and smart kids.
Please note that the list is very extensive. You don’t have to worry if you are not able to address all of the issues mentioned below. Focus should be to see what can be improved with some effort. And then you should focus on these areas in order to maximize healthy and smart upbringing of your child.
Maternal Bonding – Moms (and dads too) need to build a healthy bond with their parents. According to a research, 4-years old kids who don’t have a strong bond with their mothers have lower IQ.
Lack of Emotional Support – Kids who don’t have parental emotional support have 5 points lesser IQ than the kids who have emotionally present parents.
Trauma and Spankings– Don’t spank your kids. Regular spanking reduces the IQ of a child by 7.5 points.
Harsh Corporal Punishment – Corporal punishment is bad for IQ. Research has shown that corporal punishment for 3 years reduces the brain’s gray matter volume which reduce the IQ. A detailed article on the topic is available here
Parental Verbal Abuse – Similar to physical punishment that reduces gray matter in a child’s brain, verbal abuse reduces the white matter in a brain. This results in the reduction of verbal IQ.
Witnessing Domestic Violence – Even witnessing domestic violence reduces a Child’s IQ. Have domestic problems? Solve them in private. Don’t expose your children to domestic violence. Children raised in households with domestic violence lose 8 points on the IQ scale on average.
Too much “Screen Time” – Too much screen time causes damage to a child’s neurological systems resulting in hyperactivity and lack of attention span.
Mother’s Education – Children’s IQ is directly related to the education level of their moms. Children of high school drop-out moms have 15 IQ points lesser than the children of the mothers who finished college.
Teen Mothers – Teenage pregnancies result in lower IQ of new borns. If the mother of a child is less than 19 years old at the time of child birth, the average deficit of IQ in such kid is about 5 points.
Unmarried Mothers – Children with an absent father have an average IQ of 99 while children with both parents at home score higher than 100. Children whose mom was never married have an IQ of 94 on average.
Family Poverty – Family income impacts a child’s IQ as well. Children in poverty have an IQ of 93 on average while children in upper middle class have an average IQ of 106: a 13 point difference in total.
Big Families – Large family size is correlated with lower IQ. Average IQ of children with 4 or more siblings is 92. While a family with only one child results in an IQ of 104 for the child.
Unhealthy Diet – Children who eat more junk food (high fat and sugar) can 5 points lower IQ than the kids who eat health food (salad, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruit and fish). It is because the kids who eat junk food have lower intake of vitamins and minerals needed for optimal brain growth.
Breast-feeding – There have been many studies done that indicate that breast fed kids have 2 to 7 points of IQ advantage over the kids who were formula fed.
Iodine Deficiency – Iodine deficiency results in 10-15 points of IQ less. This phenomenon is mainly observed in the developing countries.
Iron Deficiency – Zinc is associated with good memory. 6-11 year old children with less zinc intake tend to have more memory problems.
Fluoride Poisoning –More fluoride in water causes decrease in IQ. Studies have shown that excessive fluoride in water results in a loss of 10.2 IQ points
Severe Malnutrition – Severe cases of malnutrition among three year old kids results in a 15 point IQ deficit when they are 11 years old.
Indoor Mold – If your house is contaminated with mold, the chance of having lower IQ for your children is three times higher.
Lead Poisoning – Research points to a decrease in 4-9 IQ points if children are over-exposed to lead.
Manganese Poisoning –Similarly, research has indicated that the children exposed to manganese have 2.4 points of negative impact on their IQ.
Malaria – Cerebral malaria results in brain damage resulting in lack of social sensitivity, lack of self-awareness, weaker decision making skills and planning.
Diarrhea – Frequent diarrhea for children under the age of five causes slower brain development,
Tuberculosis – Tuberculosis not only can slow down the cognitive development but also can cause brain damage in more severe cases.
Intestinal Worms – Worms in a child’s intestines have shown to reduce the child IQ by 3.75 points.
Big Classrooms – Larger classrooms result in lower results on IQ tests. Research has shown 2 points reduction per year.
School Drop Outs – Students who dropped out of college earlier lose about two points for every missed school year.
Bad Teachers – Impact of having bad teachers is roughly two points per year for kids in primary and secondary schools.
Lack of Exercise –The hippocampus and dentate gyrus help with the formation of new episodic memories, faster understanding of new environments. Thirteen year olds who don’t exercise frequently have lower IQ as hippocampus and dentate gyrus are impacted by lack of exercise.
Teen Obesity – High teen obesity results in up-to 15 points of IQ loss. Average child IQ among highly obese children was found to be 85.
Bulimia – Brain regions have reward circuitry that is negatively impacted among bulimic children.
Anorexia – Anorexic children have lesser grey matter in their brain.
Concussions – Concussions result in IQ loss even after a single concussion. There are roughly 300,000 concussions happening is US schools every year.
Alcohol – Brains of teenagers are still developing. Alcohol impacts this growth resulting in a lower IQ who drink during teenage years.
Marijuana – Marijuana usage under the age of 16 causes developmental problems resulting in cognitive development, recalling details and decision making.
Smoking – Smoking on regular basis during early adulthood results in lower IQ. Similarly, 6-16 year old children have lower IQ if they are exposed to second hand smoke. The IQ loss is estimated to be about 5 points.