NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL CHILDREN DO BETTER AS DIET IMPROVES
From 1979 through 1982, New York City school children were given lunches and breakfasts with lowered amounts of sucrose, synthetic food colors and flavors, and two preservatives (BHA and BHT), a program mandated by the New York City Board of Education as a test of the Feingold diet. By the spring of 1983, the city’s schools had risen from the 39th national percentile to the 55th, a 15.7 percent increase.1 Various other hypotheses as to the cause of this increase – placebo effects, student-to-teacher ratios, nutrition education programs, increased breakfast consumption – were considered and rejected.2
Evaluation of the test results was complicated, however, by the fact that since 1979 the level of fat in the school diet had also been lowered. The new diet, with its decrease in fat- and sucrose-laden processed foods, meant that the children were getting more nutrients and fewer empty calories, with a resultant decrease in malnutrition:
1Schoenthaler, Stephen J., Walter E. Doraz, and James A. Wakefield Jr., "The Impact of a Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools," Int. J. Biosocial Research, 8(2):185-95, 1986.
2Schoenthaler, Stephen J., Walter E. Doraz, and James A. Wakefield Jr., "The Testing of Various Hypotheses as Explanations for the Gains in National Standardized Academic Test Scores in the 1978-1983 New York City Nutrition Policy Modification Project," Int. J. Biosocial Research, 8(2):196-203, 1986.
Concerning the cleaning up of the food supply, "Attack silent violence the way we go after street violence!" -- Ralph Nader on the Phil Donahue show, December 4, 1987.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Winter 1988, page 6.