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Low-Iron Diet = Low Math Scores?

Is your child having problems in math class? A study in the June 2001 issue of Pediatrics indicates that diet may be a factor.

The scores of four standardized tests -- math, reading, verbal ability and performance -- were evaluated for a sample of 5,398 children between 6 and 16 years old.

Scores for the tests were derived based on age groups and test scores were compared to cases of iron deficiency.

Children identified with iron deficiencies scored much lower in math than children with normal iron levels. Iron-deficient children with anemia averaged 86.4 and iron-deficient children without anemia averaged 87.4 on the math test, compared to a 93.7 average for children with normal iron levels. Also, a greater number of iron-deficient children (with and without anemia) scored below average in math than children with regular iron levels.

Iron deficiency was more prevalent in adolescent girls than boys. The researchers believe that this may be due to a combination of poor diet and menstrual blood loss. Be sure your child is getting enough iron naturally in his or her diet; some of the best sources of naturally occurring iron include red meat, poultry, beans and whole grains. Coffee, tea and excessive consumption of high-fiber foods decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron.


Halterman JS, Kaczorowski JM, Aligne CA, et al. Iron deficiency and cognitive achievement among school-aged children and adolescents in the United States. Pediatrics June 2001:107(6), pp 1381-1386.

Talk to your doctor of chiropractic for more information on the essentials of a proper diet for you and your children, or visit

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