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It's not the teachers or the schools, it's brains that need fuel

Gerald W. Deas | , M.D. | , Mph | 3/28/2012, 11:34 a.m.
Halloween will make your child scream

School bells are ringing and children will be doing more than singing.

They will be acting up, hyperactive, impulsive, irritable, distracted and antisocial. They'll have difficulty with memory and writing and will display many other anti-learning characteristics. Why? Not because of one-parent homes, poverty, poor housing or any other negative social condition. These negative behavior traits are due mainly to poor nutrition.

In other words, the brain needs adequate brain food. Where is that old-fashioned breakfast of juice, milk, hot cereal, whole-wheat toast and eggs? And please don't forget cod liver oil. That was my breakfast when I went to school. Was it yours? Healthy lunches were provided by the parent, not by food giants that have no idea how to satisfy the nutritional needs of children. Children's meals today have been replaced with cupcakes, potato chips, pork skins, popcorn and artificial drinks loaded with additives that cause negative behavior.

I would like to give you now "A Major Study on Nutrition and Learning," conducted in the spring of 1979, when New York City public schools ranked in the 39th percentile on standardized California Achievement Test scores.

In the fall of that year, the New York City Board of Education ordered a reduction in the sugar content of foods served in the school feeding programs and banned two synthetic food colorings. In the spring of 1980, the achievement test scores soared to the 47th percentile nationally.

During the following school year, the schools banned all synthetic colorings and flavorings. Again, the test scores increased, bringing New York City schools up to the 55th percentile.

Thus, over a four-year period, with the only change being an improvement of diet, scores in 803 public schools showed a mean academic percentile increase of 15.7 percent.

It is up to parents and administrators to help change children's diets, which are loaded with poisons and are not allowing those little brains to operate at their full potential.

Years ago, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a pediatrician, produced material to generate public awareness about the potential roles of foods, synthetic additives and chemicals in behavior and learning problems.

If you are interest in changing your children's diet so they can function to the best of their abilities, I advise you to write the Feingold Association of the United States at P.O. Box 6058, Williamsburg, VA 23188. You can also call (631) 369-9340 or visit www.feingold.org.

Recently, I have tried to introduce a program called "The Health Elementary Education Program: Featuring Dr. Do It," which was submitted by myself and attorney Ameer Robertson.

The program is meant to introduce science from the third grade up to entering high school. It is never too late to stimulate the brain.