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The widely held belief that the consumption of foods containing large amounts of refined sugar causes hyperactivity in children may be misguided, suggest the findings of a new study of sugar's effect on young children.

Lee A. Rosen, a psychologist at Colorado State University, conducted the study with a team of researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the University of California at Irvine, the Mississippi Protection and Advocacy System, and the Mississippi Training and Information for Parents Program.

The study participants, 30 preschool children and 15 1st and 2nd graders attending private schools in Jackson, Miss., received varied amounts of sugar at breakfast in school each day for three weeks. Some children were given foods with a concentration of sugar equivalent to that in two bars of candy, others were given foods with a low concentration of sugar, and a third group was given foods that tasted sweet but contained little actual sugar.

After breakfast, the children were tested on a number of cognitive skills--including matching similar objects and recalling paired items--to rate their hyperactivity.

While sugar consumption was found to cause some slight changes in children's behavior, those changes were so small that the in-take could not be said to cause hyperactivity, according to Dr. Rosen.

Asian-Americans are achieving higher levels of educational attainment than any other segment of the population and are "often perceived as a model minority," according to a study of 1980 census data by the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit research organization.

The study found that in 1980, 35 percent of Asian-Americans ages 25 and older had graduated from college--twice the proportion found among whites, the group with the next-highest levels of education.

Among those ages 20 to 24, the rates of college attendance for Asian groups range from 60 percent among Chinese-Americans to 27 percent among Filipinos--rates higher than those of all non-Asian groups.

More Asian-Americans finish high school as well, the report said. About 96 percent of Japanese-Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 had completed high school, and the rates for most other Asian-Americans were higher than the 87 percent rate among whites and the 75 percent rate among blacks.

The proportion of immigrants from Asian countries has risen dramatically, the report noted. From 1980 to 1984, 48 percent of all legal immigrants came from Asia, compared with about 12 percent in the 1960's.

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