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Children With High IQ More Likely to Become Vegetarians

Higher IQ at age 10 associated with preference for meat-free diet at age 30

FRIDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Children with high IQ scores are more likely to become vegetarians as adults, compared to their counterparts with normal or lower IQ, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in BMJ.

Catharine R. Gale, Ph.D., of the University of Southampton in Southampton, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 8,170 men and women who participated in the 1970 British cohort study and who were 30 when interviewed regarding their dietary habits.

A vegetarian diet was reported by 366 (4.5 percent) of the subjects, of whom 123 (33.6 percent) said they also ate fish and chicken. Female sex, higher social class both at birth and at the time of the study, and higher educational level at the time of the study, whether or not these factors were reflected in current income, were all associated with vegetarianism.

Men and women who reported being vegetarian had mean childhood IQ scores of 106.1 and 104.0, respectively, compared to 100.6 and 99.0 for non-vegetarian men and women, respectively.

The report did not draw any firm conclusions on the cause of the link, suggesting that vegetarianism may mediate the association between coronary heart disease in adulthood and childhood IQ. Alternatively, "the association between IQ and vegetarianism may be merely an example of many other lifestyle preferences that may be expected to vary with intelligence," they write.

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