Over the past five years, significant new evidence has documented the link between eating breakfast and learning. Recent studies show that skipping breakfast is relatively common among children in the U.S. and other industrialized nations and is associated with quantifiable negative consequences for academic, cognitive, health, and mental health functioning. When combined with new data on the prevalence and impact of hunger/food insecurity, the preponderance of recent evidence is that lack of optimal nutrition is a problem for millions of U.S. students and that increased breakfast eating could be part of a solution. Literature reviews published in the late 1990s set the stage for understanding this new evidence by showing the associations between regular breakfast consumption/skipping and student outcomes. Research over the past five years has provided new evidence for these associations and definitive evidence for others: most notably that universally free school breakfast programs increase the rate of overall-breakfast eating and are judged to improve learning by teachers and school principals. These findings, along with accumulating evidence for the danger of nutritional risks, provide a clear rationale for continued efforts to promote breakfast eating for children, schools, and the nation as a whole.
Keywords: Breakfast, nutrition, cognition, academic functioning, children
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport