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Nutr Health. 2006;18(3):233-47.

The role of dietary fatty acids in children's behaviour and learning.

Author information

1
Educational Psychology Service, DCC Education Development Centre, Co Durham, DL16 6YP, UK. madeleine.portwood@durham.gov.uk

Abstract

A growing awareness and understanding of the profiles of local children in County Durham, UK, experiencing learning and behavioural difficulties throughout the education system, has resulted in a number of school based nutritional intervention studies being undertaken. Evidence suggests that some children and young adults with developmental difficulties have a deficiency of particular omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and supplementation with these nutrients can have an impact on their behaviour, concentration and performance on standardised assessments. The first randomised placebo controlled trial to be carried out on children in Durham with developmental coordination disorder has demonstrated significant effects of fatty acid supplementation on behaviour, reading and spelling performance. We are conducting further scientific studies within Durham and neighbouring Authorities in the North of England to be published at a future time. We have also carried out a number of open label treatment studies within schools to help us understand better the role that nutritional intervention can play across a broader range of age groups and abilities. The results suggest positive outcomes for a substantial proportion of children who are more able to engage with the educational opportunities presented to them. This is an important finding to be shared with educationalists, health professionals and importantly the parents.

PMID:
17180869
DOI:
10.1177/026010600601800306
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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