January 24, 2006

Ghana endorses my plan for improving Africa

Ghana News Today reports on a problem I've highlighted twice on VDARE.com (first and second), but which almost nobody else in the West has dared talk about because it involves IQ.

Ghanaian Children Lose IQ For Taking Non-Iodated Salt

A study carried out by the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that Ghanaian children are losing between 10 and 15 intelligence quotient (IQ) points for consuming salt without the adequate levels of iodine.

A programme officer of UNICEF in charge of nutrition, Mrs Ernestina Agyepong, who stated this at a seminar on breastfeeding in Accra yesterday, said the study also revealed that apart from the Brong Ahafo, Western and Ashanti regions, where 60 per cent of the households used iodised salt, most households in other regions had failed to use it in the preparation of meals.

She said ironically, at Ada, where iodised salt was produced, only two per cent of the households used it. Mrs Agyepong said UNICEF and the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) would soon embark on a programme to ensure that all non-iodised salt was removed from the market and urged all salt producers to ensure that all salt put out for consumption was iodised.

Here in the U.S., inland parts of the U.S. had trouble with "cretinism" caused by lack of iodine in the diet until all salt was fortified with iodine back before WWII. This probably was one of the contributors to the Flynn Effect of rising IQ scores, although I doubt that the overall effect was to drive IQ scores down the 10-15 points claimed in the article. But, the lack of iodine (and iron) in the diet in Africa does help explain the approximate 15 point gap between average IQs among sub-Saharan Africans and African-Americans.

On breastfeeding, Mrs Agyepong said promoting exclusive breastfeeding into the second-year of lif , appropriate complementary feeding, growth promotion and other activities were intrinsically linked to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the elimination of hunger and would ensure the holistic development of the child.

“There cannot be any better start in life for the child than to breastfeed properly to ensure good nutrition and the best start in life,” she added.

She noted that unrestricted promotion of breast milk substitutes was a major threat to the promotion of breast milk, adding that in the Central Region, for example, the breastfeeding rate was 33 per cent, far below the national average of 53 per cent.

I've been pushing breastfeeding as a way to narrow the black-white IQ gap in the U.S. since 2000, although the evidence is less conclusive for that than for iodine and iron fortification in the Third World. I did see recently that nursing rates have been going up among African-Americans, which is good news.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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