Can Fish Make Kids Smarter? The Answer May Surprise You

There are plenty of reasons to eat fish – for example, they are a good source of nutrients, including omega-3s. Aside from its nutritional value, fish could have an especially useful long- term effect on the minds young children.

Collecting Data

Believe or not, eating fish could make kids smarter, and simultaneously help them get a better night’s sleep to boot. Such was the conclusion of a study spearheaded by a team from the School of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in State College. For this project, the authors examined a relatively large group of children living in China. In total, 541 children participated in the study, all of whom ranged in age from 9 to 11.

The children’s dietary habits were documented with the aid of questionnaires, which tracked monthly consumption of fish. Likewise, questionnaires regarding sleeping patterns and daytime drowsiness were distributed amongst the participant’s parents. The research team also measured the individual IQ of each child.

Starting Young

After reviewing all of this data, the Penn State team determined that fish had a notable impact on IQ scores. Specifically, the IQ scores of children who ate fish at least once per week were nearly five points higher than those who rarely or never ate these aquatic offerings. Furthermore, the “rarely/ never ate fish” group were outscored by roughly
three points by children who only “sometimes” had fish.

As an added bonus, the authors found an association between better quality sleep and weekly fish consumption. Given their findings, the Penn State team argues that fish should be an important staple of children’s diets. In a university press release, study co-author Jennifer Pinto- Martin stated that the study “adds to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted. Children should be introduced to [fish] early on.”

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