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Why some children have low IQ —Paediatrician - Yara.ng
Home Health & Food Why some children have low IQ —Paediatrician

Why some children have low IQ —Paediatrician

by James Davies


Angela Onwuzoo

A Consultant Paediatric Haematologist and Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Prof. Edamisan Temiye, has given reasons why some children have low intelligence quotient and fail to do well in their studies. 

Prof. Temiye said although low IQ in children is genetically determined, the environment can also make a child have low intelligence.

According to him, malnutrition is a veritable reason why some children develop low IQ.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the paediatrician said the brain development of a child starts from the womb.

Prof. Temiye explained, “The first 2,000 days of a child’s life, that is from conception to two years, during that period 99 per cent of the child’s brain volume had been developed.

“So, if anything happens during that period to affect that development, it will affect the intelligence of that child. 

“If the child does not have the requisite nutrition for the brain to grow maximally at that period, not just physical growth, that growth affects the brain and it is permanent. Now, by the time two years pass, the child has lost it.”

The professor added that parents not allowing their children to explore their environment could also make them develop low IQ.

“Then, If you don’t expose the child to the environment to learn, you know that children are naturally inquisitive to learn, they want to know this, they want to touch this, if you don’t guide them to learn through that phase, it will affect the child’s growth. 

“If you don’t allow a child to explore his environment, it will affect the child’s growth. A child should be allowed to explore his environment under guidance. 

“So, if the physical environment is too violent, the child will not grow appropriately,” the child care expert said. 

He noted, “A child specifically may be born to be a high-level intelligent person that will be in the high five per cent of the society, if that child’s environment walks against him, he may eventually grow up to be in the lowest five per cent of the society, a dullard.”

Researchers in an article published in Industrial Psychiatry Journal said a child’s intelligence quotient is determined by both genetic and environmental factors that start from the prenatal period itself.

In an article titled, ‘Effect of environmental factors on intelligence quotient of children’, the authors noted that various environmental factors such as place of residence, physical exercise, family income, and parents’ occupation and education influence the IQ of a child to a great extent.

They said a child must be provided with an optimal environment to be able to develop to his/her full genetic potential.

Similarly, in a study published by PubMed Central titled, ‘The role of nutrition in children’s neurocognitive development, from pregnancy through childhood’, the authors said cognitive development was influenced by many factors, including nutrition.

According to them, there is an increasing body of literature that suggests a connection between improved nutrition and optimal brain function. 

The authors said, “Nutrients provide building blocks that play a critical role in cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, neurotransmitter, and hormone metabolism, and are important constituents of enzyme systems in the brain.

“Malnourished children have less energy and interest for learning that negatively influences cognitive development 

“Malnutrition can develop in utero when the mother is malnourished (as often happens in low-income countries).

“Even mild but persistent malnutrition in early life during the first two years of life negatively influences reasoning, visuospatial functions, IQ, language development, attention, learning, and academic achievement.”

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