Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Take iron and folic acid foods for smarter kids in pregnancy

A study by Parul Christian, Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that mothers who are given iron and folic acid supplements during pregnancy have kids who are smarter, more organized and had better fine motor skills than children whose mothers did not get them. The study was conducted in rural Nepal which involved studying 676 school-age children whose mothers had been in a clinical trial in which some got iron and folic acid supplements and other nutrients while they were pregnant. About 80 % of those children were enrolled in school.

smarter kids"Iron is essential for the development of the central nervous system," said Parul Christian, an expert in international health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We had the opportunity to follow the offspring of women who had participated in a randomized trial of iron and folic acid and other micronutrients to assess neurocognitive function and outcomes," Christian said in a telephone interview.

"What we showed is prenatal iron and folic acid supplementation had a significant impact on the offspring's intellectual level and motor ability and ability during school age, which was a very exciting finding," she said.

"It had an impact across a range of function, including intellectual function, executive function and fine motor function," factors that could affect a child's later academic success, Christian said.
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