Based on findings of a recent study researchers say children with a higher energy intake from polyunsaturated fatty acids were more likely to have better results in the digit span test, a commonly used measure of short-term memory and cholesterol intake appeared to reduce performance in the memory test.
The researchers analyzed intake of different types of fat in 3,666 children aged six to 16 years old who were interviewed about their diets for the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey between 1988 and 1994. Researchers then assessed the children's psychosocial functioning through interviews with each child's mother. Cognitive functioning was measured using achievement and intelligence tests. Overall, total fat and saturated fat were unrelated to measures of cognitive and psychosocial functioning.
But compared with equivalent energy intake from saturated fat or carbohydrate, each 5 per cent increase in energy intake was associated with lower risks of poor performance on the digit span test and for each 100mg intake of cholesterol, poor performance increased by 25 per cent. Researchers also say that the associations were independent of socioeconomic status, maternal education, marital status, and children's nutrition status.
Thus in conclusion researchers say their results support much of the recent research into omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve the brain functioning of children.