That's a sensible assertion given the relationship in people between greater intelligence and long-term orientation. Impulsivity drives a person to engage in activities with transitory benefits but costly and lasting price tags (cigarette smoking, drug use, junkfood consumption, lack of exercise, etc). The urban hip-hop culture epitomizes this relationship. Conversely, smarter people are more capable of denying themselves these sorts of indulgences to avoid the heavy toll they take on one's health. They are also less likely to fall for risible myths, such as the incorrect belief that AIDS carriers can eradicate their disease by having intercourse with virgins. And they are more likely to seek legitimate medical attention when something does go wrong.
It's not just a rational assertion, it's also an empirical one. The United Health Foundation has released it's annual report entitled America's Health Rankings. The organization rates the fifty states using a variety of criteria including obesity, smoking, medical insurance, infant mortality, mental health rates. Not surprisingly, Minnesota comes out on top and Louisiana rounds out the bottom (view the full rankings here). Despite the wide demographic variation within states, the correlation between estimated IQ and the UHF's health scores is .70, meaning that about half of a state's health is 'explained' by the NAEP scores of its eighth graders.
In actuality, the relationship is probably even stronger than that, as IQ estimates are more indicative of the future (the intelligence of adolescents is being used to ascertain the smarts rest of the entire population) while health scores are firmly anchored in the present. Consequently, states undergoing dysgenic demographic makeovers do better in the health rankings than they do in the IQ rankings (Nationally, California is 23rd in health, 46th in IQ; Arizona is 34th in health, 43rd in IQ; New Mexico is 40th and 47th). Removing the border states from the computation tightens the correlation to .72.
In addition to walking hand-in-hand with healthiness, higher IQ is also related to economic parity (as measured by the gini coefficient). By state, the two correlate at a moderate but statistically significant .30. Incidentally, these two factors (health and relative wealth) have been found to be the two strongest determinants of a person's self-described happiness.
VCU's sagacious Professor McDaniel is right in urging states (and by extension any other organizing body) to institute policies to enhance their collective IQs. Doing so would go a long way in relieving a host of social ills (class warfare, crime, infant mortality, poverty, etc).
Randall Parker put it perfectly when he wrote:
Anything that could raise average IQ a few points would do more to boost economic growth and lower social pathologies than increased educational spending or the other typical liberal or free market libertarian nostrums.Ending largescale underclass immigration from third-world countries, instituting a merit immigration system, and distributing dietary supplements to impoverished children and pregnant mothers are all relatively painless ways of realizing those goals.