Maternal education and intelligence predict offspring diet and nutritional status

Theodore D. Wachs, Hilary Creed-Kanashiro, Santiago Cueto, Enrique Jacoby

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

46 Citas (Scopus)


The traditional assumption that children's nutritional deficiencies are essentially due either to overall food scarcity or to a lack of family resources to purchase available food has been increasingly questioned. Parental characteristics represent 1 type of noneconomic factor that may be related to variability in children's diets and nutritional status. We report evidence on the relation of 2 parental characteristics, maternal education level and maternal intelligence, to infant and toddler diet and nutritional status. Our sample consisted of 241 low-income Peruvian mothers and their infants assessed from 3 to 12 mo, with a further follow-up of 104 of these infants at 18 mo of age. Using a nonexperimental design, we related measures of level of maternal education, maternal intelligence, and family socioeconomic status to infant anthropometry, duration of exclusive breast-feeding, adequacy of dietary intake, and iron status. Results indicated unique positive relations between maternal education level and the extent of exclusive breast-feeding. Significant relations between maternal education and offspring length were partially mediated by maternal height. There also were unique positive relations between maternal intelligence and quality of offspring diet and hemoglobin level. All findings remained significant even after controlling for family socioeconomic characteristics. This pattern of results illustrates the importance of parental characteristics in structuring the adequacy of offspring diet. Maternal education and intelligence appear to have unique influences upon different aspects of the diet and nutritional status of offspring.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)2179-2186
Número de páginas8
PublicaciónJournal of Nutrition
EstadoPublicada - set. 2005
Publicado de forma externa


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