problems stunting today's schoolchildren
DIET DEFICIENCIES: Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, found that one in four schoolchildren have some kind of learning difficulty and that this is probably caused by a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets and those of their parents and grandparents. Omega-3 is found in fish and dark green vegetables.
Fatty acids are thought to speed up the passage of information in the brain.
TV HEALTH RISKS: Dr Aric Sigman, author of Remotely Controlled: how television is damaging our lives and what we can do about it, and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, concluded from a number of studies of health problems caused by television that TV should be banned for children under three, that older children should be allowed no more than one hour a day of good quality programming, and teenagers 11/2 hours. Television, he says, can lead to sleep problems, obesity, damage to the immune system, is a major cause of depression, and increases the risk of cancer.
SHORT SLEEP DURATION: Research by Dr Sharad Taheri, of Bristol University, found that rapidly rising levels of obesity could be linked to children not getting enough sleep. In the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, he advises banning all computers, TVs, mobile phones and other electronic equipment from bedrooms.
A wealth of data from different countries has shown that shorter sleep duration upsets our metabolism in ways that may contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease, he says. Lack of sleep affects the hormones that make children hungry, so they eat more, while at the same time they can be too tired to exercise.