It appears that the research is true - giving vitamins to children can help improve their performance at school. This at least is the claim of The Healthy Foundation, which runs a vitamin supplementation programme called Vitamin Relief USA-Children First.
In January, The Healthy Foundation, a non-profit foundation committed to improving the health status of children and adults through vitamin supplementation, sent observational surveys to 62 Vitamin Relief USA-Children First collaborative partner sites in order to gauge the impact of its programme of vitamin supplementation. Parents, teachers and site staff reported similar observations of improvement in the children participating in the scheme.
Marked improvements were observed in the school attendance, academics, behaviour, energy, appetites, and self-image of the 1,000 children represented in the survey by parents, staff and teachers.
Some 42 per cent of parents said their children were eating better, while 29 per cent claimed their children were feeling better physically and more physically active. Of great interest was the fact that 28 per cent of parents and 36 per cent of teachers stated that children were sick less often, while 30 per cent of each group observed that children's illnesses were not as severe or as long. Also, the company said, 23 per cent of parents and 22 per cent of teachers claimed that students were doing better academically with higher grades.
"Though this is only an observational survey, the results are quite impressive and beyond what we expected. We are eager to follow up on this information with a well-designed, rigorous scientific study as soon as possible at multiple public school sites," said Michael Alan Morton, executive director of The Healthy Foundation.
The US Congress has awarded THF around $500,000 to conduct a definitive study to measure improvement in academic performance and behaviour in several thousand school children participating in the vitamin programme.
The Healthy Foundation currently provides daily vitamins to over 6,000 children from low-income families at over 100 sites in 35 states. Its national initiative, called Vitamin Relief USA-Children First, is a public private partnership that distributes daily children's chewable multivitamin/mineral supplements to children at risk for malnutrition and nutrient deficiency.