CHILDHOOD malnutrition may not have an influence on adult intelligence, states a study by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad. On the other hand, "the socioeconomic status of the family, especially the educational level, emerges as the most important factor influencing intelligence" (ICMR Bulletin, Vol 2 No 6).
NIN researchers followed up from the age of 5 a group of 166 adult males aged between 23 and 30 years. Information was collected over the past 18 years by studying nutritional, intellectual and socioeconomic parameters. The study reinforced earlier findings that the total environment exerts a greater influence on the intellectual development of children. Undernutrition does not occur in isolation but in conjunction with other adverse factors like impoverished family and school environments.
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