A children's vitamin supplementation program that provides vitamins to agencies that serve needy, poor, homeless or at risk-children in the United States is growing, according to the Healthy Foundation executive director, Michael Morton. The foundation's Vitamin Relief USA—Children First now donates vitamins to more than 6,000 children a day at 77 sites in 33 states. And if a $6 million appropriation requested by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., is approved by Congress, Children First will deliver vitamins to more than 36,000 children a day. The money will also be used for a clinical study to determine the effects of vitamin supplementation on health, education and social skills.
"If it goes through the way it's been written and proposed, it will give us $2 million for three years," he said. "Half of that will allow us to add another 30,000 children a day for a year. The other million [each year] will be spent on research in school settings."
Research, Morton hopes, will prove that vitamin supplementation increases a child's learning ability and lessens violent tendencies.
"There's a growing body of evidence that shows that if you give a child a daily vitamin supplement—even an over-the-counter product—that child will more than likely have better grades, better test scores, higher IQ, and be less likely to act out, to bully, to be violent and to have suicidal gestures," Morton said. "What we've got is a program that costs less than a dime a day per child," he said. "That dime includes shipping it to the sites—and the program has tremendous positive benefits to the kids, their families and their schools."
All of the vitamins currently being used in the program come from industry donations. "The industry can be really proud of what [this program] is doing," Morton said.
To find out more about Children First or the other The Healthy Foundation Vitamin Relief USA programs go to www.healthfound.org, call 909.696.0552 or write to P.O. Box 888, Murrieta, CA 92564.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXII/number 10/p. 12