Trivia

Hard

The Introduction Of What Led To A Significant Rise In U.S. IQ Levels?

Iodized Salt
Computers in Schools
Fluoridated Water
Jeopardy
A cardboard canister of Morton Iodized Salt.
Morton Salt

Answer: Iodized Salt

When pondering what could cause entire swathes of the country to enjoy significant IQ gains, most of us would turn our attention to things that are inherently cerebral in nature: better-funded grade schools, literacy programs, or college tuition initiatives, for example.

One of the most significant impacts on the IQ levels of U.S. citizens, however, was not standardization of schooling, increased college attendance, or literacy programs, but the introduction of iodine-enriched salt. Starting in 1924, all non-kosher table salt in the U.S. was enriched with iodine, a micronutrient that is incredibly important to neurological development. Not only do children born from mothers who are iodine deficient have lowered cognitive functioning (damage, unfortunately, that cannot be undone later), but iodine deficiency is also the leading cause of preventable mental retardation worldwide.

So how big of an impact did the introduction of iodized salt have on IQ levels? Areas of the country with no natural sources of iodine (e.g. inland areas where iodine-rich seafood was rarely consumed) saw an average rise of 15 points over the following decade—a rise of one full deviation on the scale in just ten years.

The lessons of the early 20th-century experiment in iodizing salt aren’t lost on us today. Not only do we continue to add iodine to salt in the United States, but Unicef has led initiatives around the world to educate the public about the benefits of iodized salt in landlocked countries in order to bring the benefits of the micronutrient to children there too.

Trivia

Hard

You Can Keep Your Coffee Warm Longer By Adding What?

Trivia

Hard

Which PC Game Was The First to Be Flown Into Space?

Trivia

Easy

Crepuscular Animals Are Most Active During?

Trivia

Hard

Which First Lady Started The White House Tradition Of Themed Christmas Trees?

Trivia

Hard

Which Piece Of Comic Book Memorabilia Did The Smithsonian Display For Only A Single Day In Early April Of 2015?

Trivia

Easy

The Color Changing Structures Found In Chameleons, Squids, And Other Creatures Are Called?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Spider Weaves The Largest Webs In The World?

Trivia

Hard

The Lowest Number Zip Code In The United States Belongs To?

Trivia

Hard

The First Odometer Was Used In?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Pine Tree Species Require Forest Fires To Propagate?