According to a University of Southampton study published by the British Medical Journal, children with high IQs become vegetarian adults. Dr Catharine Gale of the University’s MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre who led the study explains:
Those who were vegetarian by the age of 30 had scored five IQ points above average at the age of ten. This can be partly accounted for by better education and higher occupational social class, but it remained statistically significant after adjusting for these factors…
One explanation for the link between higher IQ and vegetarianism may be that brighter children grow up to think more about what they eat, which in some cases has led them to become vegetarians.
I’ve always thought vegetarians were smarter people, and the results of this study do not surprise me. Gifted and talented children often worry more than their peers about social issues, because they have a heightened sense of moral concern:
Smutny (1998, p.10) explains how gifted children feel deeply for others. “They sense the joys, pains, sorrows and hopes of family members, friends, classmates and sometimes become distressed when they cannot alleviate the problems of others……gifted children will often weep at the cruel treatment of an animal. They will frequently ask questions and express concern about world problems – poverty, war, environmental devastation”. This empathy for the suffering of others makes gifted children particularly vulnerable to the many forms of insensitivity they see on television, at school or in the world around them. Often these children feel powerless to act and this sense of helplessness can lead them to despair and guilt as they feel a responsibility for these situations.
Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is one way to alleviate this sense of helplessness.
Vegetarian adults were not only smart youths, but they are more likely to be female, more educated, and occupy a higher social class.
The only non-vegetarian researcher in the study felt the link between childhood intelligence and vegetarianism is not necessarily causal, but “might be one of a number of more or less arbitrary cultural choices that clever people make, some of which might be beneficial to health, and some not.” My choice to become a vegetarian at the age of sixteen was certainly not arbitrary.