Children who gained weight faster during the neonatal period performed better on IQ tests by early school age, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. The study involved approximately 17,000 infants in Belarus who were born full term and had a healthy birth weight. Researchers measured the babies' percentage gain in weight and head circumference in their first 4 weeks and then, when the children were 6.5 years old, used standardized tests to evaluate IQ, as well as parent and teacher questionnaires to gauge any behavioral problems. After adjusting for confounders, the authors found that children in the top quartile for net weight gain had IQ scores 1.5 points higher than those in the lowest quartile. They did not, however, find a meaningful link between net weight gain and behavior. Similar associations were found between head circumference growth and IQ and behavior. The authors conclude that their findings reinforce the need for clinicians to intervene early when an infant is experiencing feeding difficulties. Read the abstract.
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