Increasing IQ in the United States

  • R. Grant Steen
Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


Americans tend to feel smug about the health benefits of living in a developed nation, yet a great many people in the United States are too poor to benefit from the advances in medical care that tend to grab the headlines. If tens of millions of people lack medical insurance, then tens of millions will be denied necessary medical treatment. We evaluated 30 medical problems that potentially impair language ability in the United States (Table 9.1), and we concluded that those conditions together may cost the average American child up to 5 IQ points. The problem most likely to result in impaired verbal ability in the United States is rampant poverty that subsumes – and may aggravate – a great many of the other problems that can result from language impairment. Poverty in the United States is associated with an increased risk of virtually all of the other risk factors for language impairment. Children in poverty are at an increased risk of low birth weight, attention deficit disorder, childhood smoking, lead exposure, asthma, PTSD, childhood neglect, iron deficiency anemia, PCB exposure, diabetes, air pollution, childhood abuse, mercury pollution, epilepsy, and so on [1]. This is a disquieting consideration, given that poverty is far more prevalent in the United States than we would like to admit.


Head Start Control Child School Readiness Bell Curve Head Start Program 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Communications Consultants, LLCChapel HillUSA

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