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Bigger Babies 'Are Brighter'

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 674 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... BIGGER BABIES ARE BRIGHTER BBC Thursday, 8 August,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 12, 2002
      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 674
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.

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      BIGGER BABIES 'ARE BRIGHTER'
      BBC
      Thursday, 8 August, 2002

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2180874.stm

      Bigger babies do better in tests, even as adults, but being born into a
      higher social class is also linked to improved mental ability.

      But researchers from the Institute of Child Health found although both
      factors influenced test scores, social class had more of an effect.

      This evidence of the importance of social background meant the problem of
      childhood deprivation had to be addressed, they said.

      The team studied 10,845 men and women born in early March,1958, in England,
      Scotland, and Wales.

      Maths scores

      They examined the combined effect of birth weight and social class, based on
      the father's occupation.

      Researchers looked at results from school tests, comparing results at ages
      seven,11 and 16 in maths, reading, general ability and perceptual and motor
      skills.

      They also looked at what qualifications people had attained by the age of
      33.

      Test results and educational achievements all improved significantly with
      increasing birth weight.

      The proportion of men with higher qualifications (higher than A level) was
      26% in the lowest birth weight group (2500 g or less).

      In babies who were born in the highest weight group (more than 4000g) it was
      34%.

      For women, the proportion rose from 17 to 28% for the comparative groups.

      Maths scores increased with increasing birth weight at all ages.

      But babies of lower birth weight born into social classes I and II
      outperformed normal weight babies from classes III and IV in maths tests.

      Policy changes

      The researchers suggest the link between maths score and social class seems
      to strengthen with age, whilst the association with birth weight remained
      similar.

      They said their findings held true, even when factors such as gender,
      maternal age, whether the child was breast or bottle fed, number of siblings
      and parental education was taken into account.

      Researcher Barbara Jefferis told BBC News Online: "We have been able to look
      at the effect of size at birth on a wide range of cognitive tests.

      "In terms of policy, our findings suggest you really need to take seriously
      ways of addressing deprivation in childhood and improving social
      environments."

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