Cardiovascular health in teenagers is associated with higher scores on intelligence tests, and more education and income as adults, according to a study in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Early Edition.
In the study, researchers at the University of Southern California and University of Gothenburg in Sweden evaluated data for all 1.2 million Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who enlisted for mandatory military service at the age of 18. The researchers found scores on intelligence tests increased according to aerobic fitness but did not rise along with muscle strength.
A particularly interesting finding was:
Boys who improved their cardiovascular health between ages 15 to 18 exhibited significantly greater intelligence scores than those who became less healthy over the same period. Over a longer term, boys who were most fit at the age of 18 were more likely to go to college than their less-fit counterparts.