The importance of school breakfast on the success of children is more and more apparent each day. Research has shown that school breakfast has a direct impact on children’s ability to learn in school. Yet one aspect that must be looked at as well, is the impact on children’s health. High obesity levels among children have raised concerns among parents and politicians.
Since children spend a majority of their days in school and they eat two of their three daily meals in school, many have questioned whether schools are providing all children with the opportunity to eat nutritious, healthy meals. These same concerns have led many to focus on the importance of school breakfast programs.It is well known breakfast is the most important meal of the day and eating a nutritious, healthy breakfast can have significant impacts on the overall health of children. Recent studies have shown that eating a breakfast can have positive outcomes such as:
- Adolescents who eat breakfast tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI); higher BMIs can indicate overweight and obesity.
- Girls who eat breakfast are more likely to have a lower BMI than girls who skip breakfast.
- Adolescents with one or two obese parents who eat breakfast every day are more likely to have BMIs within a healthy range than those who tend to skip breakfast.
- Low-income elementary school girls who participate in the School Breakfast, School Lunch, or Food Stamp Programs, or any combination of these programs, have significantly less risk of being overweight.
Maintaining a proper diet is essential to being healthy. Not eating breakfast or not having the sufficient vitamins to support your body can be detrimental to your health. Simply, providing breakfast alone is not enough. Making sure meals provided by the school system are nutritious and meet government dietary standards is essential to overall success of children’s health. Studies have shown that:
- Children who eat breakfast tend to have more adequate nutrient intakes than children who do not.
- By eating breakfast, students also get more of important nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, dietary fiber, folate and protein.
- A higher percentage of children who skip breakfast do not meet two-thirds of the recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins A, E, D, and B6.
The overall health of all children should be a priority as various groups and governments work together to eradicate hunger and obesity. Implementing and improving the already established school breakfast programs is essential for the success of all children.