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Junk food 'helps pupils pass exams'

London Telegraph | Apr 03 2005

Comment: It seems that eating crap is now good for you, just as was smoking 30 years ago and Prozac and Ritalin are now.

Children do better in exams if they are given junk food for lunch, new research has found.

The findings seem to contradict the approach taken by the chef Jamie Oliver, who has run a campaign for healthier school meals.

Researchers found that struggling schools were manipulating their lunch menus to give pupils a lift before vital exams.

The menus were loaded with pizzas, hot dogs, chocolate drinks and biscuits and improved test results immediately afterwards.

The research, conducted in America and published in the British Journal of Public Economics, found that many American schools used computers to monitor the nutritional content of their meals.

Prof David Figlio, of Florida University, said: "The evidence suggests that some alter their menus to try to improve test scores and the evidence indicates that this may be successful."

Prof David Benton, a psychologist at Swansea University, has done tests on pupils in this country.

He said: 'We found an orange glucose drink increased the ability to concentrate and sustain concentration."

A spokesman for Jamie Oliver said: "Jamie does not suggest that high-calorie foods should be banned. He is just trying to make sure that children get at least one nutritious meal a day."









 




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