Intended for healthcare professionals


IQ, health, . . . and other stories

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 31 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4475

IQ and mortality

Twenty thousand people from Sweden who had their IQ measured in childhood have now been followed for more than half a century. As several previous studies have also shown, those who scored lower on tests of IQ in childhood experienced higher mortality. The effect was substantial: in men, a standard deviation decrease in IQ was roughly equivalent to a 30% increase in risk of death from all causes and, in women, about half that. Adjustment for fathers’ occupation in childhood, and for socioeconomic factors in adulthood, weakened the association, but, without information on health related behaviours such as smoking, exercise, and diet, …

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