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Smarter children more at risk for eating disorders

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The higher a child's IQ, the higher his or her risk for developing an eating disorder later in life.

This was the conclusion of a recent study from the UCL Institute of Child Health. The study included a partipant pool of 6,200 children between the ages of 8 and 10 years.

Leaving diet out of the equation

Instead of studying the dietary habits of the children, researchers gathered information about their relatives and family history of eating disorders. The reason for leaving diet out of the equation in this study was to rule it out as a potential risk factor for eating disorders in children.

"This meant we could focus on characteristics that might increase the risk of developing an eating disorder, rather than characteristics which might be the result of an eating disorder," said study author Radha Kotari.

Influence of family

Children with a family member who struggled with psychological food-related problems, such as anorexia or bulimia, were determined to have a higher risk factor than children without a family history of eating disorders. The children in the former group were found to have higher IQs than the children of the latter. However, children who had a bulimic member of the family demonstrated poor mind-body spatial control than children in the control group.

Researchers note that the findings don't indicate how an eating disorder may play out for a child later in life, but they can help us understand how an eating disorder might develop in the early years. The study may also shed light on what neurological influences might contribute to the onset of this type of problem.

Source: Salon, Medical Xpress