Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can a junk food diet harm pupils' performance?

The usual "correlation is causation" junk science: No account taken of social class. Middle class people tend to be smarter and many would be mortified to be seen inside a McDonald's. And kids tend to inherit their parents' IQ. That's the probable reason why a "junk food" diet goes with lesser academic achievement. It is because of social class effects, not food effects

The link between junk food and poor performance at school has been proved, say researchers. There is a direct correlation between the amount of high fat and sugary foods pupils consumed and their academic results, according to a U.S. study. Researchers asked more than 5,500 ten and 11-year-olds to record how many times a week they ate at fast food restaurants. Just over half had eaten fast food between one and three times during the previous week. Ten per cent had eaten it between four and six times and two per cent said they ate junk food four or more times a day.

Dr Kerri Tobin, of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said the children were given literacy and numeracy tests. The average literacy score was 141.52 points and in numeracy, 115.24 points. Pupils who ate junk food between four and six times a week scored 6.96 points below average in reading. Those who ate it daily dropped 16.07 points and pupils who indulged three times a day dropped 19.34 points.

In maths, those eating fast food between four and six times a week scored 6.55 points below average. Daily junk food led to a 14.82 point drop and a three-a-day habit led to a 18.48 point drop.

Tam Fry of Britain's National Obesity Forum said: 'If you start to feed your children better food, all their educational processes improve - their attention span, learning and behaviour.'


Meat pies and lamingtons hit NYC

Meat pies are Australia's national food. I suffer pie-deprivation feelings if I don't have at least one a week. A pie getting sauced first below followed by a tray of lamingtons

A MELBOURNE businessman is beating the US economic downturn - one pie at a time. University dropout Lincoln Davies, 37, is about to expand his booming pie-making business by opening a second store in downtown Manhattan. "Our business just keeps getting stronger," Mr Davies said. "We expanded as soon as we got the money to do it." April sales at his eastside hangout the Tuck Shop are up 30 per cent on last year and since 2007 weekly turnover has doubled.

Co-owner Niall Grant said there was never a better time to be flogging pies to Americans. "There is more demand than ever for inexpensive, good quality comfort food in New York," Mr Grant said. "We noticed a real spike in October when the downturn really hit."

Now, they sell about 200 meat pies a day, drumming up most of their business through word of mouth. The grungy cafe, which opened in 2005, is well known among Australians but even after four years it still has some locals mystified. "They think a pie is a pizza," Mr Davies said. So how does he educate them? "I just tell them to start eating."

Davies abandoned his business degree at the Melbourne University and fled to Noosa before moving to London where he faked his way through a career in finance by pretending he had an accounting degree. He eventually landed in New York, where he opened the business.


1 comment:

Nik said...

There were lots of cafe closings late last year, along with crappy mom and pop stores but that was just a wash out of debt laden bankrupts. Never in this recession has Manhattan dining taken a hit. It, like mass transit, is simply part of our oife. It's no fun to eat alone at home and end up with great food too (unless like me you have a lenient landlord and remake your kitchen to have super powerful induction heating in the form of a pan or my can actually cook good food as fast as microwaving). I still only cook for myself as experimental runs for communal meals. My beef jerky recipe has taken a hit now that I discovered Costco (an hour away by subway/bus) and their meat slabs that are full of gristle so must be shredded in a food processor. Must add oil I think to combat the sandpaper texture. Cherries failed, only adding water that then dehydrated away. My hydroponic radish sprout garden machine comes in handy, along with huge bags of dried white cap shitake mushrooms. One thing I should try though are Manhattan meat pies! Can they be made at home? Ordered frozen for baking? And ketchup isn't exactly New Yorker's favorite condiment. Try horseradish or sour cream. We really are spoiled here. Yesterday I discovered, not seven blocks away, a Spanish deli with $3.50 Corona beers and $9 entrees (for breakfast, lunch or dinner they have a daily menu) such as the deep red meat stew with a free stack of steamed tortillas and onion/lime condiment. Wow. Every day I'll get to sample one of ten daily specials. Sure, it's $20 a day instead of $6 but that's because when outside, the beers slow you down to allow a two hour reading fest and the extra $14 goes for "rent" of their living room like space, and for a tip so they can function at all. The cost of living here does not bottom out at McDonalds but at small diners who got liquor licenses in good times, back, say, in the '40s.