Good-quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement

Anett Nyaradi, Jianghong Li, Jonathan Foster, Siobhan Hickling, Angela Jacques, T.A. O'Sullivan, Wendy Oddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


©2015 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Aim The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between early diet and academic performance during childhood. Methods Participants were from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study (n = 2287). Frequency of consumption of food and beverages was collected at the one-, two- and three-year follow-ups, using a 24-hour food recall. Diet scores were developed from the number of eating occasions. The Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (WALNA) data from grades five (age 10) and seven (age 12) were linked to the Raine study using The Western Australian Data Linkage System. The association between diet scores and WALNA scores was assessed using multivariate linear regression models. Results A higher (i.e. better quality) diet score at one year of age was associated with significantly higher scores in mathematics, reading, writing and spelling at both grades five and seven. Associations were observed between a higher diet score at two years and academic scores for mathematics, writing and spelling at grade seven. Higher dairy consumption at ages one, two and three, and higher fruit consumption at age one were associated with higher academic scores at all ages. Conclusion Quality of early diet may be a predictor for later academic achievement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e209-e218
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number5
Early online date1 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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