Malnutrition in the first few years of life leads to antisocial and aggressive behavior throughout childhood and late adolescence

27 Jul

…link became evident between malnourishment and antisocial or aggressive behavior, said Adrian Raine, a co-author of the study. Compared to those in the control group – the group that did not suffer from nutritional deficiencies – malnourished children showed a 41 percent increase in aggression at age 8 and a 51 percent increase in violent and antisocial behavior at age 17. While social class did not play a significant factor in behavior, intelligence level did, Raine said. “Poor nutrition, characterized by zinc, iron, vitamin B and protein deficiencies, leads to low IQ, which leads to later antisocial behavior,” he said. “These are all nutrients linked to brain development.” Researchers also found that the more indicators of malnutrition there were, the greater the antisocial behavior. “There’s more to antisocial behavior than nutrition, but we argue that it is an important missing link,” Raine said. “Biology is not destiny. We can change the biological disposition to antisocial and aggressive behavior.”

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