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Influence of maternal and paternal IQ on offspring health and health behaviours: Evidence for some trans-generational associations using the 1958 British birth cohort study

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    Rights statement: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of the following article: © Whitley, E., Gale, C. R., Deary, I. J., Kivimaki, M., Singh-Manoux, A. & Batty, G. D. 2013, "Influence of maternal and paternal IQ on offspring health and health behaviours: Evidence for some trans-generational associations using the 1958 British birth cohort study", in European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists. The final publication is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09249338

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date25 Apr 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Abstract

PURPOSE: Individuals scoring poorly on tests of intelligence (IQ) have been reported as having increased risk of morbidity, premature mortality, and risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, poor diet, alcohol and cigarette consumption. Very little is known about the impact of parental IQ on the health and health behaviours of their offspring. METHODS: We explored associations of maternal and paternal IQ scores with offspring television viewing, injuries, hospitalisations, long standing illness, height and BMI at ages 4 to 18 using data from the National Child Development Study (1958 birth cohort). RESULTS: Data were available for 1446 mother-offspring and 822 father-offspring pairs. After adjusting for potential confounding/mediating factors, the children of higher IQ parents were less likely to watch TV (odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for watching 3+ vs. less than 3hours per week associated with a standard deviation increase in maternal or paternal IQ: 0.75 (0.64, 0.88) or 0.78 (0.64, 0.95) respectively) and less likely to have one or more injuries requiring hospitalisation (0.77 (0.66, 0.90) or 0.72 (0.56, 0.91) respectively for maternal or paternal IQ). CONCLUSIONS: Children whose parents have low IQ scores may have poorer selected health and health behaviours. Health education might usefully be targeted at these families.

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