Food Insecurity and Primary School Girl Students' Intelligence Quotients: A Case-Control Study

Ahmad Reza Dorosty Motlagh, Peivasteh Safarpour, Milad Daneshi Maskooni, Mostafa Hosseini, Farzaneh Ranjbar Noshari


Background: Food insecurity (FI) refers to the lack of sufficient and safe availability of the food. Accumulating studies have suggested associations between dietary intake and Intelligence quotient (IQ). Accordingly, we aimed to examine the association between FI and IQ.

Study design: Case-control study.

Methods: In this case-control study, 222 girl students aged 9 to 11 years old were randomly chosen from Bandar-Anzali, Iran in 2013. Students with low and moderate IQ were considered as case (n=111) and control (n=111) group, respectively. General and demographic characteristics were collected using interview. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) household FI questionnaires were also completed. To determine IQ, Wechsler’s revised intelligence test was used.

Results: FI was observed in 51% of study participants. The prevalence of FI in case and control group was 58.6% and 22.5%, respectively. The mean IQ was 77.97 ±5.56 in case and 94.6 ±5.47 for control group. It was found that there was an inverse association between FI and low IQ. The results of the multiple variable logistic regression analysis (odds ratio and its 95% confidence interval) showed that, FI 3.46 (1.85, 6.50; P>0.001), natural type of delivery 2.45 (1.30, 4.62; P=0.006), and father’s low education level 2.97 (1.43, 6.19; P=0.004) were the risky factors leading to low IQ.

Conclusions: There was an inverse link between FI and IQ. Therefore, it is necessary to pay more attention to FI and its consequences, particularly in mental health of children.


Food Insecurity; Intelligence Quotient; Primary School; Girl; Iran

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