life'sDHA and AdoptAClassroom.org Partner
As a new school year begins, parents are faced with the challenge of how they can best help their kids succeed. Early success in school, especially in reading, leads to achievements in later education and life. However, parents may not be aware of the critical role diet plays not only in the overall health of their children, but specifically that proper nutrition can impact brain health and the development of reading skills among elementary school children.
As new clinical research shows the positive effects of DHA omega-3 nutrition on children's literacy performance and behavior; AdoptAClassroom.org and the life'sDHA brand are partnering on the Building Beautiful Minds campaign to raise national awareness of the importance of nutrition and mental engagement in supporting brain health among grade-schoolers.
The partnership is the newest phase of the national health education campaign, Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Lifelong Potential, which launched in 2010. The inspirational campaign aims to empower individuals to build and maintain healthy, beautiful minds, at all stages of life, by incorporating key lifestyle factors known as the four dimensions of brain health — diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well being. Now, in phase two of the campaign, Building Beautiful Minds focuses on supporting children's brain health and educating parents on simple steps to make healthy choices for the whole family.
"Parents want their children to succeed not only in school, but in all aspects of their lives. As we build the next generation of beautiful minds, now is the time to take action to improve children's brain health," said Peter Nitze, president of Nutritional Lipids, DSM Nutritional Products, maker of life'sDHA, an algal source of DHA. "We can't think of a better partner than AdoptAClassroom.org to help us shine a spotlight on the importance of prioritizing nutrition, mental engagement and education."
To launch Building Beautiful Minds, the life'sDHA brand is donating up to $25,000 for schoolbooks and supplies across the country through AdoptAClassroom.org, a nonprofit organization that aligns community donors with teachers in need of resources. The campaign kicked off with a donation of more than 1,200 books to New York City's KIPP Infinity Elementary School, where teachers were invited to a surprise book-unveiling assembly for its 12 classrooms.
"We're passionate about making a meaningful contribution to education by helping students succeed. Partnering with the life'sDHA brand on the Building Beautiful Minds campaign is a great way to call attention to brain health in children while helping them gain fundamental skills in areas such as reading," said Jamie Rosenberg, founder and president of AdoptAClassroom.org.
Study: Effect of DHA on children's brain health
The campaign comes as new research shows how DHA can have a positive impact on children's brain health. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed PLOS ONE journal called Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB), showed that healthy children with the lowest reading levels who took 600 mg of algal DHA, specifically life'sDHA, daily for 16 weeks significantly improved reading performance than those who took a placebo. According to the study, DHA intake was shown to have potential to give lower performing readers the ability to catch up with their higher performing peer group, and also have a positive effect on behavior.
In addition to the study, research has also shown that there are a number of simple but powerful lifestyle factors that may influence brain health and function, regardless of age. Among the things families can do to support brain health:
Diet and nutrition – incorporating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and added sugar but rich in brain-healthy foods such as antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and good fats like DHA rich foods or foods, beverages and supplements fortified with algal DHA. Try to serve colorful meals with a variety of foods on each plate.
Physical health – staying physically active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week and playing catch, hiking or swimming, are all great ways for the whole family to exercise together.
Mental health – continually challenging the brain inside and outside of school through activities such as reading, playing games, creative pursuits like dancing or painting, or learning a new language or skill.
Social well-being – nurturing human connections and engaging in social activities such as play dates, clubs and volunteering.
Changing the American family diet
In an effort to communicate the importance of children's brain health, the Building Beautiful Minds campaign conducted a national parent survey to better understand parents' positioning on nutrition and school performance. A majority of parents surveyed (82 percent) said they are willing to change their family's diet and 70 percent are willing to try dietary supplements if they helped school performance, according to a recent national survey. Furthermore, 90 percent of parents said they are willing to add dietary supplements for at least six months to see if it impacts scholarly performance.
When asked about which foods and supplements were the most brain healthy, most respondents chose DHA supplements (76 percent), followed by salmon (69 percent), blueberries (63 percent), tuna (59 percent) and avocados (55 percent).
To learn more about how to support a classroom or to register a classroom in need of support, visit adoptaclassroom.org.
For more information about life'sDHA, the algal DHA used in the DOLAB trial, please visit lifesdha.com.