March 13, 2002
Murrieta, CA – Tom Elementary School seems like a typical school, but something surprising happens there. Each day, teachers distribute chewable multivitamins to their students. As a “low performing” school in rural Haworth, Oklahoma, Tom’s administration brought in The Healthy Foundation’s Vitamin Relief USA-Children First program this school year in the hope that the research is true: vitamins help at risk children succeed academically.
The teachers are astounded. “There has been a great improvement…I have seen an increase in attention span and an acceleration in academics,” said Mrs. Sylvia Blake, a fourth grade teacher at Tom Elementary. Ms Carolyn Thomson said, “I am amazed the vitamin program could provide such gains in so many areas. I would estimate a 50% decrease in absence in the first grade.”
In January, The Healthy Foundation sent observational surveys to 62 Vitamin Relief USA-Children First collaborative partner sites in order to gage the impact of its program. Parents, teachers and site staff reported similar observations of improvement in the children participating in the vitamin distribution program.
Marked improvements were observed in the school attendance, academics, behavior, energy, appetites, and self-image of the 1,000 children represented in the survey by parents, staff and teachers.
42% of parents said their children were eating better, while 29% claimed their children were feeling better physically and more physically active. Of great interest was the fact that 28% of parents and 36% of teachers stated that children were sick less often, while 30% of each group observed that children’s illnesses were not as severe or as long. Also, 23% of parents and 22% 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.” Says Michael Alan Morton, Executive Director of The Healthy Foundation.
Besides these results, The Healthy Foundation has another reason to celebrate: Congress awarded THF an earmarked appropriation of $500,000 to conduct a definitive study to measure improvement in academic performance and behavior in several thousand school children participating in the vitamin program.
The Natural Products Industry has stepped forward to support this research. Tishcon Corp. has pledged to provide the children’s multi-vitamins as well as the placebo tablets for this study. U.S. Pharmacopeia has also agreed to test the children’s vitamin for content, strength of ingredients and purity. At the recent Natural Products Expo West, DSEA and New Hope Natural Media honored The Healthy Foundation for it’s Vitamin Relief USA-Children First Initiative and its earmarked award from Congress.
Dr. Hyla Cass, President of The Healthy Foundation said, “Gaining an appropriation from Congress in support of such a young program is unprecedented, and a wonderful validation of the importance of The Healthy Foundation and it’s Vitamin Relief USA programs. We are proud to report the results of our observational survey for it provides further evidence that the formal studies Congress has assigned to us have the potential for landmark results. We appreciate the Natural Products Industry’s support in helping us achieve conclusive and respected data for this important research.”
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.
The Healthy Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit foundation committed to improving the health status of children and adults through vitamin supplementation. To support The Healthy Foundation or for further information, please call 877-935-5348 or log onto www.healthfound.org.