Children have never had it this good. Anything a child could ever want has been extensively researched and catered for.

So why are many children not "performing" as well as adults expect them to?

Learning disorders such as ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia (clumsy child syndrome) are on the rise, despite all our educational strategies and therapies.

Such disorders affect a child's ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do maths despite average or even high intelligence.

Compelling new research from Oxford University shows many of our children suffer from a dietary deficiency of fatty acids.

Are modern eating habits neglecting one of the most basic of human requirements, that of feeding the brain?

I put this to Dr Jacqueline Stordy, a pioneering researcher in this field.

Dr Stordy explained that the brain is composed of 60 per cent fat and needs an abundance of fatty acids from our diet to function effectively.

These are converted by the body into essential building blocks called LCPs (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids).

Nerve cells in the brain are particularly dependent on LCPs - without them, we would be unable to transmit messages and store, process or produce information.

One of the most important LCPs is called DHA and found in fatty cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Not only do many children eat little fresh fish, they much prefer food laden with trans fatty acids which block the production of DHA.

Trans fats are formed by hydrogenating oils in order to improve their flavour and shelf-life. If you look at food labels, you can find "hydrogenated"

in most baked and fried goods, snacks and convenience foods.

Babies get all the fatty acids they need from their mother's milk, as long as she well-nourished and not loaded with trans fats from manufactured foods.

The problem is many women no longer breastfeed and even if they do, their diets may be too low in LCPs and too high in trans fats.

Some children are more affected than others, as the ability to convert LCPs from food is largely predetermined by our genes.

Dr Stordy believes the best way forward is to introduce LCPs into the diet of pregnant and nursing women as well as children with learning disabilities.

Research clearly shows these so-called clumsy, hyperactive or disruptive slow-learners significantly improve once their diet contains the right kind of brain food".

Be aware that once deprived, the brain may take up to three months to be topped up with LCPs.

Parents, teachers and health professionals with an interest in learning difficulties can find out more about the role of fatty acids by attending a free lecture by Dr Stordy on Tuesday, March 19, at 7pm at the University of Sussex, Brighton.

To book, call 0800 783 1223 or email: bookings@

Dr Jacqueline Stordy's new book The LCP Solution: The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment For ADHD, Dyslexia And Dyspraxia is available in bookshops from March 20 (published by Macmillan at £14.99).