Adults who attempt to restrict their dietary intake also tend to perform worse on a range of cognitive tasks. However, the extent to which this finding generalises to children has remained unclear. Following studies involving adults, we asked 44 girls (mean age= 10.1 years) to complete a simple reaction-time task and the Tower of London task. This group was selected from a local community school in the East Midlands (UK). Dietary restraint was measured using a version of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire that had been adapted for use by children. Our results indicate that children with high restraint scores have longer reaction times and they also tend to perform worse on the TOL task. Other aspects of our data also suggest the dietary restraint may be correlated negatively with a measure of academic ability. We discuss reasons why restraint and performance might be related causally and we conclude that this issue warrants further scrutiny. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Nutrition and Behaviour
- Physical and Mental Health