Intelligence Equates Fitness!

May 29, 2009

I found this very interesting article and I find it rather amusing… linking inteligence to physical fitness.   This is the first time I have read such a study published in the journal Intelligence and I want to share the information to all….


We suggest that an over-arching ‘fitness factor’ (an index of general genetic quality that predicts survival and reproductive success) partially explains the observed associations between health outcomes and intelligence. As a proof of concept, we tested this idea in a sample of 3654 US Vietnam veterans aged 31–49 who completed five cognitive tests (from which we extracted a g factor), a detailed medical examination, and self-reports concerning lifestyle health risks (such as smoking and drinking).

As indices of physical health, we aggregated ‘abnormality counts’ of physician-assessed neurological, morphological, and physiological abnormalities in eight categories: cranial nerves, motor nerves, peripheral sensory nerves, reflexes, head, body, skin condition, and urine tests. Since each abnormality was rare, the abnormality counts showed highly skewed, Poisson-like distributions. The correlation matrix amongst these eight abnormality counts formed only a weak positive manifold and thus yielded only a weak common factor.

However, Poisson regressions showed that intelligence was a significant positive predictor of six of the eight abnormality counts, even controlling for diverse lifestyle covariates (age, obesity, combat and toxin exposure owing to service in Vietnam, and use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs).

These results give preliminary support for the notion of a superordinate fitness factor above intelligence and physical health, which could be further investigated with direct genetic assessments of mutation load across individuals.


This study showed that being healthy is linked to being more intelligent.  And this relationship is linked to a certain genetic “fitness factor” that regulates both the health fitness  to that of brain intelligence.  

In other studies, the relationship was believed to be more of a “cause and effect” relationship where by being more intelligent means more likely to live a healthy lifestyle by eating the right kind of food and knowing the benefits of exercise.  Unfortunately, this cause and effect relationship may not be that simple after all because I know of intelligent people who may not be at their best of fitness level.

On the other hand, the researchers further noted that the lower intelligence predicted health problems more than deviant lifestyle factors like smoking or alcohol intake.

All these date suggest that there indeed is the existence of a genetic ‘fitness factor’ that influences both health fitness and the way our brains work!

Look Smart By Being Fit!!!!

3 Responses to “Intelligence Equates Fitness!”

  1. maxim Says:

    Thanks for the info Doc. The idea of fitness factor is something new to me. Although clearly, more studies need to be conducted to have a conclusive correlation between intelligence and fitness.


  2. wilsonng Says:

    As one friend suggested, if I can only switch my IQ and my body weight, then I’d be a genius, and I’d be healthy!

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