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Keywords:

  • nutrition;
  • cognition;
  • children;
  • micronutrients;
  • brain development

This review considers the research to date on the role of nutrition in cognitive development in children, with a particular emphasis on the relatively neglected post-infancy period. Undernutrition and deficiencies of iodine, iron, and folate are all important for the development of the brain and the emergent cognitive functions, and there is some evidence to suggest that zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may also be important. Considerations for future research include a focus on the interactions between micronutrients and macronutrients that might be influential in the optimization of cognitive development; investigation of the impact of nutritional factors in children after infancy, with particular emphasis on effects on the developing executive functions; and selection of populations that might benefit from nutritional interventions, for example, children with nutrient deficiencies or those suffering from attention deficit-hyperactiv-ity disorder and dyslexia.