Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Should Your School Offer Grab-and-Go Breakfasts?

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Should Your School Offer Grab-and-Go Breakfasts?

Article excerpt

Eating a healthy breakfast helps fuel academic performance, but nearly half of U.S. high school students skip breakfast one to six days a week--and 13.7% don't eat breakfast at all, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2014).

Nationwide, only 38.1% of students ate breakfast on all seven days, the CDC survey shows (2014). A total of 13,583 students in grades 9-12 participated in the 2013 survey. The percentage of students not eating breakfast at all did not change significantly from 2011 (13.1%) (CDC 2014).

"Study after study shows that kids who eat breakfast function better," says Dr. Marcie Beth Schneider, an adolescent medicine physician, in an article on the American Academy of Pediatrics' website, HealthyChildren.org. "They do better in school and have better concentration and more energy" (AAP 2015).

In an article for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Marisa Moore, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Atlanta, GA, also points to research showing that breakfast has a positive effect on student performance.

"It's not fully understood why, but scientists believe it may be because breakfast supplies essential nutrients to the nervous system to rev up brain power. Or the explanation could simply be that breakfast alleviates hunger and a rumbling tummy, which can interfere with academic performance, behavior, and self-esteem" (Moore 2014).

Teens who skip breakfast or only eat or drink something sweet for breakfast face a 68% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome as adults, according to a survey (Wennberg et al. 2015) of 889 Swedes about their breakfast habits as 16-year-olds and later as 43-year-olds. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors, including high blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar, that can result in heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

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Educators are removing barriers to students eating breakfast every school day. Here are a few examples:

* Less than 10% of students at Frederick Douglass Elementary in Leesburg, Virginia, were eating school breakfasts in the cafeteria (Balingit 2016). So the school offered grab-and-go breakfast items that could be eaten in class. Now twice as many students eat school breakfasts.

* Mandan High School in North Dakota also doubled the number of students eating school breakfasts by installing a grab-and-go breakfast kiosk in a busy hallway (Sisk 2016). …

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