What's the Latest Development?

According to a European study involving hundreds of families with children, pre-birth nutrition contributes to the "programming" of health, well being, brain development and mental performance and that certain nutrients are important to this process. The study "looked at the effect of, B-vitamins, folic acid, breast milk versus formula milk, iron, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids, on the cognitive, emotional and behavioural development of children from before birth to age nine." It was found that folic acid helped prevent behavioral problems and that omega-3 fish oils had a positive effect on reading abilities.

What's the Big Idea?

Many factors beyond pre-birth nutrition influence children's behavior and intelligence, including the parents' educational level, socio-economic status of the parents, age of the parents and, as discovered by the study, the genetic background of the mother and child. Cristina Campoy, who led the current study, said, in some advice to parents, that "it is important to try to have good nutrition during pregnancy and in the early life of the child and to include breastfeeding if possible, as such 'good nutrition' can have a positive effect on mental performance later in childhood."

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