Interview with Alexander Schauss
Andrew W. Saul Interviews
SALES OF SODAS AND JUNK FOOD BANNED IN SEATTLE SCHOOLS
(Sept. 3, 2004) “The
This is bigger than you might
think: there are 100 schools in the
Among those we can thank for this initiative is Alexander Schauss.
Alexander G. Schauss,
PhD. has held a number of academic appointments, and has been a member of the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine Advisory
Council and the Developmental Planning Committee of the NIH Office of Dietary
Supplements. Dr. Schauss is a Fellow of the
Schauss has appeared on television shows including Phil Donohue, Maury Povich, and Oprah Winfrey. I heard
Dr. Schauss speak at the Nutritional Medicine Today
DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWS: Dr. Schauss, how did all this good nutrition news come about?
SCHAUSS: The impetus for the effort in
DY NEWS: How bad were the foods in the NYC schools?
SCHAUSS: An article in the New York Times described NYC public school's meals as some of the most tasteless and unappealing in the country, combined with well below average national academic standardized test scores; this despite some of the highest teacher salaries in the country, numerous advanced degrees among its teaching staff, and a teacher to student ratio of 1:17, in addition to students living in one of the most culturally enriched environments in the world.
DY NEWS: What was the science behind the better-food, better-grades concept?
The effects of the dietary changes were evaluated by
Even the testing services began wondering how a school district of such heterogeneity of students could in one year, for example, gain 8 percentage points, when the expectancy was no larger than a gain of 2%. The results were published the following year in the International Journal of Biosocial and Medical Research.
DY NEWS: What was the response from government?
SCHAUSS: A hearing was held in the US Senate. Senator Jessie Helms, originally a strong critic of NYC's efforts, ended the hearing commending the school system, pointing out that the USDA administered school lunch program was originally established by Congress after WW II to insure that children and adolescents would not suffer the degree of malnutrition and its after effects experienced in the 1930's during the depression resulting in the loss of millions of potential soldiers for the war effort during WW II. Few people knew that the school lunch program was started by the Defense Department, not the USDA.
DY NEWS: When did the public begin to hear of the NYC study?
In 1987, Barbara Friedlander and Arnold Meyer and I collaborated in writing a
book on the NYC study. Barbara was the Chief Nutritionist for the NYC public
school system, and
DY NEWS: Certainly you must have run into objections to such sweeping nutritional change. From whom did your opposition come?
SCHAUSS: Many dieticians and school food service directors claimed that students were already receiving a "balanced diet" and there was no need to reduce sugar, sodas, etc. I even recall a professor of dietetics stating on television that there was nothing wrong with a child eating a popular breakfast cereal that was nearly 60% refined sugar. Seeing that both academics, often with connections to the food industry, and dieticians in particular, created road blocks to improving the diet, the effort was reorganized by several parents into a determined grass roots movement.
also mention that other pioneers should be given credit for demonstrating the
benefits of a highly nutritious, nutrient dense school meal program.
DY NEWS: How does it feel to have backed the right horse, nutritionally speaking?
In just the first two days after the Seattle Schools' announcement, I have
had emails of congratulations from all over the world. It took years, but
note that not only has
DY NEWS: Some final thoughts?
SCHAUSS: In my opinion, given the rising rates of diabetes (Type II), heart disease, obesity, etc., it is high time we begin early in assuring ourselves that our children get the healthiest, not most profitable, foods. They are our future and they deserve to have schools and parents committed to insuring that they have a future as healthy adults.
For further reading:
Schauss, AG, Friedlander, B and Meyer, A. Eating For A's. Simon & Schuster, 1991. Republished as: Feed My Brain: Eating To Excel. 2004. ASIN: B000UHO9D2
Schauss, A.G. Recommended
Optimum Nutrient Intakes (RONIs). In: Textbook of
Natural Medicine. Second Edition. Pizzorno, J.E. and
Schauss, A.G. Minerals, Trace Elements and Human Health. Life
Schauss, A.G. The myth of learning disabilities and juvenile delinquency. [Letter] Correctional Psychologist, 1991; 23(3).
Schauss, A.G., Meyer, B. F. and Meyer, A. Eating for A's. Pocket
Books/Simon & Schuster:
Schauss, A.G. The effects of nutrition on brain function, behavior, and learning: Directions for integrative research. International Journal of Neurology, 1989; 23: 111-115.
Schauss, A.G., Nutrition, academic achievement and behaviour disorders: Applying the research to schools. Health in Schools, 1988; 3(6): 182-186.
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and Behavior. Keats Publishing:
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and
social behavior. In: 1984 Yearbook of Nutritional Medicine, Bland, J. (ed.) Keats Publishing:
Schauss, A.G., Sommars, E., Gilles, B.L. and Husmann, R.L. Nutrition in the schools: A survey of North American schools. International Journal of Biosocial Research, 1984; 6(1): 78-88.
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and behavior. Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1983; 35(1):30-43.
PRISONS, CRIME AND NUTRITION
Having personally taught inside two NY State prisons (one medium, one max), I offer some of my own thoughts on improving inmate nutrition at
Dr. Schauss has considerable experience on this subject:
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and antisocial behavior: current research and review. International Clinical Nutrition Reviews, 1984; 4(4): 172-179.
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and behavior: Limitations and implications
for criminology. Proc. 112th Congress of the American Correctional
Schauss, A.G. Effects of environmental and nutritional factors on
potential and actual batterers. In:
Schauss, A.G. Nutrition and violence. Proceedings of the 5th
National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. HEW (
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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Interview and comments copyright 2004 by Andrew W. Saul.
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