Folate intake linked to academic performance
HIGHER folate intake has been linked, for the first time, to better academic performance in adolescents, independent of socioeconomic status and homocysteine levels.
Researchers in Sweden took blood samples from 386 adolescents aged 15 years and gave them a questionnaire to enable assessment of health-related lifestyle activities and their parents’ education levels.
The teenagers’ folate intake was estimated from dietary assessment, and their final semester academic grades from the final year of compulsory schooling were measured.
“We found evidence that high folate intake is positively associated with academic achievement as assessed by school grades in Swedish adolescents,” the authors said.
The association was more pronounced in low-income families.
“These results provide new information that points to the importance of keeping a closer watch on folate status in childhood and adolescence,” the authors said.
Folate intake in adolescents was a public health nutrition concern, they said.
Sweden has no folate fortification of food products.
Pediatrics 2011; online 11 July