Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Editorials

Childhood intelligence and being a vegetarian

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:070392
  1. Marcus Richards, MRC programme leader and UCL reader in cognitive epidemiology1
  1. 1MRC National Survey of Health and Development, University College London, London WC1E 6BT

Do bright children grow up to make healthy choices? Marcus Richards discusses some provocative recent research

Evidence increasingly suggests that intelligence is associated with health and survival,13 although the reasons for this are not fully understood. To varying degrees, intelligence could mediate the long term impact of early adverse circumstances (such as overcrowding), influence the acquisition of factors that protect health, and reflect underlying biological mechanisms that regulate health. A cohort study recently published in the BMJ by Gale and colleagues4 assesses whether intelligence can influence the acquisition of protective factors. In a large representative population study of more than 8000 British men and women, intelligence in childhood was associated with a vegetarian diet in mid-adulthood, and this was independent of educational attainment and social class.4

Linda Woods

The chicken and egg controversy? …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription