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Is summer lowering your child's IQ?

Caution: while your kids are having fun in the sun, their brains may be at risk. Learn which summertime mind-melting hazards to avoid and get brain-boosting alternatives.

By Hank Pellissier

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Eat wisely

Like many American parents, you may let dietary standards slide during the summer months. If so, keep in mind that a daily menu of junk food — soda, candy, and sugary or salty processed treats — can considerably decrease your child's IQ. In England, children ingesting an unhealthy diet averaged five IQ points lower than their more intelligently-fed peers. In India, students devouring foodstuffs full of artificial flavors, preservatives, and coloring lagged 14 percent behind their more organically-fed rivals, claims an article in the Hindustan Times. Minerals like iron and zinc are also essential. Indian researchers noted that children with anemia (iron deficiency) were burdened with significant developmental delay, and those with zinc deficiency have "memory deficits."

What you can do: Between occasional ice cream treats, feed them a regular diet of brain food, especially these four healthy staples kids love.To further bump up scholastic skills, serve your students an East Asian staple. A Japanese study of 290 children discovered that those who were fed wheat had an IQ four points lower than those whose main grain was rice. And if they demand a fun food, let them chew on gum (preferably sugarless), which stimulates their brain stems, according to Professor Lehrl. The chomping motion increases the flow of blood to their brain, elevating their attention level and ability to learn.

Hank Pellissier is a freelance writer whose fiction and essays have been been widely published and anthologized. A former columnist for Salon and SF Gate, he is a regular contributor to h+ Magazine.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/6/2012:
"This article is a bit ludicrous. IQ is, by definition, fixed. If you follow the link for, say, the comment by Paul Saffo, you see that the rermark about IQ decrease was flip, with no indication that it is backed up by any research whatsoever. If you think that your kids' IQs will be increased by taking their texting away--hey, good luck... "
06/25/2012:
"I am a School Psychologist who has worked in the New York City region for thirty years. I would love to see the research you claim lowere IQ and reliability follow up studies. While cognitive function may temporarily wane from inner and outter issues, IQ does not alter. Please use the proper word so as not to mislead and or give false information. "
06/25/2012:
""Dehydration from excessive heat or alcohol" ? What? These are kids we're talking about right? Kids work hard all school year and deserve some down time to simply daydream if they want to. "
06/25/2012:
"I knew I didn't want my kids watching SpongeBob for a reason! Glad to see research backs me up. I try to not freak out about any one day's activities, rather look at a few days or a week in total. Did we go to the playground/pool/play with friends/read/do a little homework? Great. Then I don't worry about going to the movies every week/extra video or computer time. "
06/25/2012:
"God forbid a kid actually enjoys the summer without a bunch of handwringing about a discredited assessor of "intelligence" by helicopter parents. To anyone this article actually caused any worry to: lighten up. "
06/25/2012:
"Wasted space, Nothing intellectually nutritious in this article. "
06/25/2012:
" "Add to that dehydration from excessive heat or alcohol, and it gets worse, decreasing brain cell volume by as much as 15 percent." ~ I sure hope these children are not drinking alcohol. What the heck? "
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