Thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, millions of low-income children have the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal. But does the program impact the brain as well as the belly? A new study finds that it does, with students at participating schools scoring higher in math, reading and science.

A striking illustration of the connections between nutrition and education, the study not only found higher academic scores within schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program, it also found that the effect was cumulative. In other words, the longer the school offered breakfast, the higher the academic achievement scores.

“There’s been a lot of research on the value of breakfast in general, but I wanted to specifically see whether or not the (School Breakfast Program) as it exists today is effective in improving educational performance,” said study author David Frisvold, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Iowa.

To conduct the study, which was published online in the Journal of Public Economics, Frisvold compared publicly available educational assessment scores among thousands of fifth-graders. Those students were grouped into two categories: Those at schools just below the threshold of being required to offer free breakfast and those at schools just above the threshold. (Many states require that schools begin offering free breakfast once a certain percentage of their student population is eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch.)

Overall, the study found that math scores were about 5 percent higher at schools taking part in the School Breakfast Program when compared to schools that didn’t take part in the program. In particular, kids at participating schools learned 25 percent more than they would have otherwise based on general averages of what a student is expected to learn over the course of a school year, Frisvold told me. He found similar gains in reading and science scores. Frisvold wrote in the study:

These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the (School Breakfast Program) throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement. In addition to providing evidence on the impact of state mandates and the availability of the (School Breakfast Program), this paper contributes to the understanding of the influence of childhood health and nutrition on cognitive achievement, which is an important determinant of human capital. Further, these results suggest that food assistance programs and nutrition interventions can influence cognitive achievement, not just in developing countries, but also in higher income countries, such as the U.S.

Frisvold also found a cumulative effect to the School Breakfast Program. In researching how long the fifth-graders had been exposed to the breakfast program, he found that the longer the school had been participating in the program, the greater the academic gains. He told me: “Consistent exposure to a more nutritious breakfast made a difference.”

So, what exactly makes the School Breakfast Program such an academic booster? Based on the scientific literature, Frisvold said better nutrition is the likely mechanism. Though he noted that other factors associated with the School Breakfast Program, such as reducing tardiness and school absenteeism as well as preserving family income for other needs, could also contribute to better academic scores.

From a policy perspective, Frisvold said his study findings do strengthen the argument that the School Breakfast Program is an effective intervention and one that improves educational outcomes. Though he noted that it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to closing the academic achievement gap.

“I’d say that this program certainly contributes to reducing the gap between high-income and low-income students, but there’s such a large gap that this isn’t enough to level the playing field,” he said.

Originally established in 1966 as a federal pilot program, the School Breakfast Program served more than 12 million children every day in fiscal year 2011. Of those millions of children, more than 10 million qualified for free or reduce-priced breakfast. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, good health and academic achievement are closely linked, with high levels of education associated with longer life expectancies and lower rates of chronic disease.

To read more about the School Breakfast Program study, click here.

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for more than a decade.

Comments

  1. #1 Nikita De Franca
    April 4, 2015

    I think that there is a definite link between nutrition and academic achievement as brain activity is increased when a good breakfast is eaten. Children simply cannot learn on an empty stomach.

    I do,however, believe that not only does nutrition play a part in achieving academically but having time to socialize with fellow learners while having breakfast plays an important role too. During break times many children chose to rather go to the library, catch up on work or isolate themselves from socializing either due to the inability of making friends or just not being accepted by their peers. During this allocated breakfast time, children will be forced to interact with each other especially if the seating positions of the children is regularly rotated.

    Having a healthy diet as well as a healthy social life will definitely be the key to success for many learners.

    15029850

  2. #2 Maryke du Plessis
    April 4, 2015

    I have always felt that a healthy breakfast improves thinking and functionality during the day, especially concerning school children. I would like to see programs such as these implemented in rural communities. Not only will it help families by providing nutritious food for their children, but in the long run it can help these children find jobs because of their improved results. Through this whole communities can be uplifted and local economies would greatly benefit. This would do wonders for people in third world countries.
    15038336

  3. #3 Christa Smit
    April 4, 2015

    I also feel that good nutrition, especially a good breakfast, improves thinking and functionality during the day. A hungry child cannot concentrate effectively, for two reasons: firstly, when you are feeling hungry, your attention is literally focused on your hunger pains and rumbling stomach – not on academics, and secondly, your brain does not have the necessary nutrients to help it function optimally. A healthy breakfast with a low glycaemic index is of utmost importance for optimal concentration. I am glad to see that the breakfast is making a difference between the performance of pupils from higher and lower income background children – it definitely puts the latter in a better position to perform even better later on and to have better opportunities concerning bursaries and jobs when they are older. I do not think that getting breakfast or better nutrition alone will completely eradicate the difference, because pupils from higher income groups are usually better exposed to more experiences, like going to certain destinations, etc., and therefore have a wider background knowledge. This ultimately also improves their intelligence and will result in better marks at school.

  4. #4 Wagner TAM
    April 4, 2015

    I agree with the above comment, in a sense that by allowing children to have a maintained, healthy breakfast and social schedule, it will have a positive effect on a child’s intelligence and concentration ability during school.
    Although an issue that can be brought up with the sociology of having organised breakfast arrangements with other children. Which could be that some children may not get along with one another and this may lead to bullying or rejection by their peers.

    I also think that the system of providing breakfast to children in schools is limited to communities or countries that can afford to do so. Whereas in developing countries, in poor-poverty stricken areas, children do not have this opportunity and this sadly widens the gap between rich and poor.
    15084312

  5. #5 Khanyisile Hlongwane
    Gauteng
    April 4, 2015

    The brain is a complex thing and it has always been said that the best way to make sure it functions properly is to have a balanced diet.It is wonderful that learners who do not have enough to eat are provided with the most important meal of the day so it is possible for them to concentrate at school.
    u15097367

  6. #6 Payal Upadhyay
    University of Pretoria
    April 4, 2015

    This is why they say ” breakfast is the most important meal of the day “.Our body needs food to function physically and mentally after a long period of inactivity(when we sleep).A lot of learners skip breakfast due to the typical early morning rush and therefore I think the School Breakfast Program is a great initiative to help learners stay healthy and excel academically
    u15081738

  7. #7 Katlego
    South Africa
    April 5, 2015

    I agree that having a healthy breakfast as well as a healthy social life is important . But there is a lot factors contributing to academic success such as the environment that the learner choices to study in and the relationship between the learner and the teacher. These issues can only be tackled individually.
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  8. #8 Michael George Byansheko
    April 6, 2015

    I totally agree with the fact that breakfasts may have most of the advantageous impacts on the learning effects of the students. But given the fact that during digestion process i believe it may hinder the students learning since during digestion one may feel dizzy and lack concentration. Please assist me if that is not entirely true.

  9. #9 Daniël Francois Joubert
    Pretoria
    April 6, 2015

    Based on what I have read in the past regarding the menu in schools in the USA, there are not many vegetables available to these children. This poses a problem. Locked up within vegetables and fruits are many essential vitamins and amino acids, and trace elements such as iron. Because these children are needy they would probably not receive these essential compounds in their diets at home. Would it not therefore be advisable to also in conjunction with the food program supply low cost multivitamins to the children? It has been proved to have a splendid outcome with regard to learning ability in a study in the Philippines (Soesmalijah Soewondo, M Husaini, and Ernesto Pollitt. 1989. Effects of iron deficiency on attention and learning processes in preschool children: Bandung, Indonesia. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/50/3/667.2.short accessed 06 April 2015).
    Student Number: 11203367

  10. #10 Phungula SM, 13107209
    Pretoria, South Africa
    April 6, 2015

    This program is very effective and I personally feel that it should the employed by all schools that has students that may benefit from it.

    It does not only benefit the learners from academic perspectives but also boost the confidence to the individuals. Teen pregnancy correlated to hunger issues may be solved, in part by programs like this one. Some school girls date men who are much older to them because they want money to feed themselves. With programs like this, that issue can be resolved.

    13107209

  11. #11 Surajlal, N
    April 6, 2015

    Breakfast certainly is the most important meal of the day! This study shows the importance of a healthy breakfast to academic achievement. although coupled with this I think resource availability in less privileged areas is also a major issue and contributes hugely to the academic achievement gap.

  12. #12 Khanyisile Hlongwane
    Gauteng
    April 6, 2015

    I believe that it is programmes like these that truly make a difference in society.With a healthy body children will have healthy minds. u15097367

  13. #13 W Terblanche
    Pretoria April 6, 2015
    April 6, 2015

    I agree with everything that has been said and also think that more programs like these that are dedicated to the poor need to be implemented. u15013953

  14. #14 Michelle van Biljon
    Gauteng
    April 6, 2015

    I believe this programme helps children who are less fortunate. As the results suggest, breakfast is an important factor when it comes to the nutritional needs of the brain and by providing children, who might not be able to afford breakfast, with their needed nutrition, they thus increase their ability to do well in school. Although just like the piece suggests, I believe that just providing less fortunate children with breakfast, will not solve the gap when it comes to access to certain resources. (15037518)

  15. #15 Khanyisile Hlongwane
    Gauteng
    April 7, 2015

    Truly speaking it is a great initiative,the feeding schemes provided by the government are really helpful but they can only provide that much.What happens to these children when it is school holidays?

  16. #16 Khanyisile Hlongwane
    Gauteng
    April 7, 2015

    Truly speaking it is a great initiative,the feeding schemes provided by the government are really helpful but they can only do that much.What happens to these children when schools are closed during school holidays? (u15097367)

  17. #17 Gous, L
    April 7, 2015

    The brain uses the most energy of all your organs. A healthy breakfast gives your brain the necessary nutrition it needs to function. These breakfast programmes help children to concentrate better. I also agree that the socializing with other children during the breakfast at school will help these children to create a balance in their life. (u15021875)

  18. #18 Natascha Rothauge (u15069347)
    April 7, 2015

    I believe that the School Breakfast Program is a great initiative and should be implemented wherever possible. Unfortunately, as Wagner mentioned, not every community can afford to provide their students with a regular breakfast. Often the schools that would benefit most from this program are unable to implement it due to financial reasons. Perhaps those communities could organize fundraisers in order to help them implement this program.

  19. #19 P.M Bestenbier
    South Africa
    April 7, 2015

    There is an undoubted link between the School Breakfast Program and academic achievement. It was proven that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is because it is easier to tackle difficult math problems when you had eaten breakfast. This is indeed true because even in my former high school, there was such a program implemented, and academic results increased. The previous year, matriculants from my school obtained 100% pass rate and that was because the school had such program in place. There were even Saturday classes as well as winter and summer classes. Learning on a full stomach boosts your energy levels, and you become energized and eager to learn. It decreases the rate of becoming slow in getting things done. The brain functions effectively when it has been given proper nutrition. Thereby good health and academic achievement are linked. u14248043

  20. #20 Anike Lucas- 15032907
    April 7, 2015

    It’s marvelous to see that these programs can have such an enormous impact in our children’s educational lives. Though I feel that, especially in rural communities, that this breakfast program must go even further and establish a program near these communities for these holidays. During the holidays, educational programs can be given to enlighten the people with necessary information of nutrients and even begin with small vegetable gardens or projects to withhold their plan of balanced diet.

  21. #21 Khanyisile Hlongwane
    Gauteng
    April 8, 2015

    This programming is bridging a gap between those who are less fortunate and those whose parents are able to provide for.This is a great start as now all children in school have the capacity to work and study hard at school. (u15097367)

  22. #22 Damon Xavier Laurent
    South Africa
    April 8, 2015

    I am curious as to why this program is being praised so highly and why people seem to only be realizing the importance of a healthy meal to start the day now? For many years there has been evidence in terms of how the right foods and a healthy diet not only promote bodily functioning but also brain function. An unqualified person who has only read basic guides on how to follow a proper diet can tell you these benefits if these guides are followed. 15385010

  23. #23 S. Smit
    South Africa
    April 8, 2015

    In order for sells to function, glucose and oxygen is needed. Oxygen is obtained from respiration and glucose is obtained through the breakdown of foods. Therefor it is important to take a healthy breakfast for optimum sell function. I agree with Khanyisile because this program give the not so fortunate children a change to perform at there best potential. The program must also be evolved so that the children have sustainable feeding and emotional support.

  24. #24 M.T
    South africa
    April 8, 2015

    Nutrition and hydration are part of a foundation for healthy learning. Helping students make healthier choices is an essential part of their education and well-being. What I think educators can do to help create an optimal internal environment is:
    1. Have students keep a water bottle at their desk or take water breaks throughout the day.
    2. Encourage students to bring only healthy treats – such as whole fruit, whole grain crackers, or veggies and dip, for birthday celebrations.
    3. Teach children how to choose the healthiest foods from the menu that is available.
    4. Be aware of your school’s Wellness Policy and contribute or obtain support for change in your classroom/school.
    5. Incorporate nutrition education into many areas of your curriculum.

    By incorporating healthy food and water in the classroom experience, students will be more attentive, and able to enjoy learning

    After all, we all love a little something to make our tummies smile.
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  25. #25 Yemurai
    South Africa
    April 9, 2015

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day especially to a learning mind. What the School Breakfast Program is doing is very important and there should be more programs like it in the world. I agree with M.T, more can be done in helping the students. The programs can even go the extra mile by raising awareness on the importance of breakfast to learning minds. Educate the public on healthier and cheaper food alternatives and help mitigate the problem.
    u15139264

  26. #26 Yvonne van Zyl
    April 9, 2015

    There is definitely a link between eating breakfast and a person functionality. I think that most people can agree with this statement from personal experience. Food is known to be our fuel. It enhances the ability to concentrate and solving problems. Therefore it will lead to better academic outcomes. If this program can continue to extend, especially in rural areas, it can have a major impact on education. It not only increases mental functionality of students but also provides less fortunate children with nutritious food. If more countries can initiate programs similar to the School Breakfast Program and incorporate other factors that influences learning abilities, this can result in better worldwide result. The importance of nutrition, especially consuming breakfast, is a must-know for all learners.

    It is truly a very impressive program that I fully support and I truly believe that it can make a remarkable difference in the educational world.

    15038922

  27. #27 Baylie Mitchley
    South Africa
    April 9, 2015

    You could do no wrong by implementing more initiatives such as the School Breakfast Program. The first meal of the day sets the tone of how the rest of the day, academically, is going to pan out. Not only do children need the correct nutrients to feed their mind in order to get the maximum benefits of going to school, but they also need the correct nutrients in order to develop themselves and their brains for the future.

    Early education is all about building a solid foundation for the children, but that is not possible without healthy responsive students. I could not be more passionate about an initiative as I have found from personal experience that, If I skip breakfast, I become almost “zombie-like”, and waste an entire day in which I could have been productive. The only fault I find is that there is no mention of what happens when the schools are closed on a break? Does initiative stop and thus the healthy minds stop for that period of time? After all, education shouldn’t stop the moment you leave the school’s doors.
    (15079890)

  28. #28 u15135919
    April 9, 2015

    I agree that nutrients play a big role in development and mastering of the brain and that some guidelines need to be set in place to provide children with the basic nutrients for optimal growth .The environment does play a big role in the possibility of providing good nutrients for their children .
    What would be the best nutrients for your brain’s development? Will it be available to everyone ?
    u15135919

  29. #29 Rikus Heystek
    South Africa
    April 9, 2015

    This is an excellent programme because it benefits the society as a whole. Well nourished children are in a position to benefit from their schooling. Where education is tax payer funded, programmes such as these contribute to meaningful spending of tax payers’ money. This will help build a generation of educated individuals who will lead the economy.

    u15014984

  30. #30 Yvonne van Zyl
    April 9, 2015

    There is definitely a link between eating breakfast and a person’s functionality in a day. I think most people can relate to this statement by referring to personal experiences. Food is known to be our fuel and allows us to concentrate and solve problems. Therefore it makes sense to me that consuming a healthy and nutritious breakfast increases your ability to learn. What else powers our brains to solve mathematical equations or understand and remember large quantities of information? If more countries can initiate programs similar to the School Breakfast Program and incorporate other factors that also influences learning abilities, education worldwide will deliver better results. This program does not only contribute to the educational world but also helps to feed less privileged learners by providing breakfast for free or at low costs.
    I think that this is an excellent program and that it can make a remarkable difference in the world.A healthy body is a healthy mind!

    15038922

  31. #31 Aimee Serafini
    April 9, 2015

    I used to think that there was no link between nutrition, work and education. There are so many people that do not eat breakfast and go to school or work and function just fine. From recent experience, I can say that there is definitely a link between education, work and nutrition. From experience I can verify this link. When I didn’t eat breakfast or I ate a breakfast that lacked nutritional value, I found that I didn’t function properly the next day – I was tired and couldn’t concentrate and fully absorb what I learnt. So I can only imagine how bad it is for a child from an underprivileged home who lives everyday undernourished and not eating enough. Therefore I definitely believe that the school breakfast program improves grades most likely by improving concentration and the brain’s ability to focus and absorb information. This program will also help these children in the long run, because with improved grades they will have more work opportunities and opportunities to further their studies. If the program requires them to eat together then their social abilities will also be improved which will definitely help them in the future.
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  32. #32 Baylie Mitchley
    South Africa
    April 9, 2015

    You could do no wrong with implementing more initiatives such as the School Breakfast Program. The first meal of the day sets the tone of how the rest of the day is going to pan out. By supplying the children with the correct nutrients their brains require, you yield students with better attention in class and thus greater academic achievements.

    This primary education is vitally important as it is setting the building blocks for these children’s futures. Which is why the students need to have the brain energy in order to be able to actually learn new concepts everyday. I know that from personal experience, when I skip breakfast, I almost turn “Zombie-like” , which usually results in an entire wasted day in which I could have been productive. The only fault I see in this program is, what happens when the schools close on their breaks? Do the healthy breakfasts stop and thus the healthy minds? After all, Education shouldn’t stop as you leave the classroom doors.

  33. #33 Seth-Frerich Fobian
    UP
    April 10, 2015

    Right away, I can vouch for being able to perform/concentrate better on a full stomach. If a person is hungry, one’s blood-sugar lever drops, and since glucose (sugar used by our bodies in cellular respiration) is an integral part of the way our bodies function, it is an important substance to have available to us in our bodies, especially when we are required to do work such as the above-mentioned science, maths, etc. which requires high-level thinking. (See http://www.medicaldaily.com/now-entering-starvation-mode-what-happens-your-metabolic-processes-when-you-stop-feeding-280666) Quite simply, every process in our bodies slows down in order to conserve energy when we are hungry. Hunger can also affect our mental/emotional state and when this happens, people tend to feel much less inclined to do work and productivity goes way down.

    I agree with what has been said, that this kind of program, especially in the low-income schools, should have been implemented long ago! Education, or lack thereof is the root of many problems in our world such as HIV/AIDS, genocide and teenage pregnancy, to name but a few. I suppose that this kind of initiative can be learned from by many people, including the working class. Why not apply this knowledge into our own lives and working environments, to increase productivity in the workplace?
    [15013252]

  34. #34 Louise Botha
    April 10, 2015

    Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day and does improve the ability to concentrate. Concentration requires energy and without breakfast the energy levels will deplete fast. A good balance breakfast will ensure that the energy levels are maintained much longer. However if this is the only meal for the day it will negatively influence the academic achievements. The brains require certain nutrients to to be able to focus on learning and enjoy learning.
    u15065091

  35. #35 M. Bester ( u15049125 )
    South Africa
    April 10, 2015

    i agree with the previous comments. Breakfast restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. Many studies have shown how eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and it can also make us happier as it can improve mood and lower stress levels. In studies amongst children, breakfast can improve attainment, behaviour and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ in the body, the brain needs energy to work at it’s best!

  36. #36 Kimberly Goto u15074511
    April 10, 2015

    I definitely think that the “School Breakfast Program” is a great platform for students (especially younger students such as fifth graders as they are still developing and undergoing many bodily changes, which requires a lot of energy and nutrients) and that it should be adopted in most, if not all schools. Breakfast has been governed to be the most important meal of the day and has good reason for this title. During sleep, your body undergoes many chemical processes and reactions, using up most of the stored food reserves and available nutrients. By skipping breakfast, you fail to recharge your body with these depleted nutrients and ultimately a bad start to the day. It also leads to fatigue, lack of concentration and affects cognitive functions, meaning children will not be able to learn properly. The study with the School Breakfast Program proves this clearly. The more nutrient-filled the breakfast and the more the children received breakfast on a daily basis, the better their performance in academics, especially in maths and science which require significant thinking. It also leads to an overall healthy being and feeling good when you have a healthy diet and do not skip breakfast, leading to a happier individual, which can boost performance levels even more.

  37. #37 Hazel Makoni
    South Africa
    April 10, 2015

    “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That is a phrase we have been hearing for as long as most of us have been skipping breakfast, it is great to see that this train of thought is actually being implemented.

    One thing to note is the cumulative effect of the program mentioned in this post. I think this is mainly because education needs to have a cumulative effect as well. If a child is well fed and attentive today, he or she can take whatever new knowledge they get and apply it to tomorrow’s lesson. This explains why pupils who have been in this program for a longer time are more likely to have a stronger foundation for their education and fewer gaps in their knowledge due to inattentiveness.

    This program needs to be implemented in more schools across the world, because for as long as students are hungry the bulk of newly learnt material goes in through one ear and out through the other.

    15300944

  38. #38 yenziwe mhlaben
    April 10, 2015

    Though i agree with most of the above mentioned comments. I realise that no one has considered the issue of time. The implementation of such a program would waste time that could have been otherwise used for academics. It would mean that the academic program would start later resulting in longer school days or school would start earlier which wouldnt be desirable for students who study late into the night. How has this been adressesd?

  39. #39 jacques muller
    April 10, 2015

    More schools should provide nutritious, affordable food for the learners. There is no doubt that breakfast allows a person to be more effective in anything that requires energy.

  40. #40 Yvonne van Zyl
    April 10, 2015

    2. There is definitely a link between eating breakfast and a person’s functionality in a day. I think most people can relate to this statement by referring to personal experiences. Food is known to be our fuel and allows us to concentrate and solve problems. Therefore it makes sense to me that consuming a healthy and nutritious breakfast increases your ability to learn. What else powers our brains to solve mathematical equations or understand and remember large quantities of information? If more countries can initiate programs similar to the School Breakfast Program and incorporate other factors that also influences learning abilities, education worldwide will deliver better results. This program does not only contribute to the educational world but also helps to feed less privileged learners by providing breakfast for free or at low costs.
    I think that this is an excellent program and that it can make a remarkable difference in the world. A healthy body is a healthy mind!

    15038922

  41. #41 Sandisiwe Mkhize (u15063357)
    April 10, 2015

    It is evident that having a nutritional meal in the morning is linked to academic success. There are also a lot of foods that are recommended to improve one’s mental function throughout one’s day in order for maximum and effective work excellence to take place. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day and I applaud those involved in this school breakfast program.

  42. #42 N Smith
    April 10, 2015

    This study is very interesting. I actually have personal experience with eating breakfast and academic achievement. Once I started eating breakfast before school and more importantly before tests I realised that I was able to focus much beter and for a longer time period. I definitely agree that there is a link between nutrition and academic achievement. The School Breakfast Program helds many advantages, because not only does it help by improving grades, it also ensures that less fortunate children does not have to eat only one meal per day. Money that was normally used to prepare breakfast can now be used for another meal.This program can only insure a brighter future for our children and from a young age would they be able to learn and understand why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
    15021824

  43. #43 Megan Soal
    April 11, 2015

    This is the third time I’ve posted onto this article due to the fact that my previous two comments haven’t appeared.
    I believe that this initiative is brilliant and should be in place in more areas. i raise the question on what happens to the children during the holidays? i believe to further improve the effects of this initiative is to create a programme for parents or guardians to be educated on how to shop for healthy cost efficient ways and to prepare food that will be healthy and nutritious for the children.
    u15067841

  44. #44 M.T
    South africa
    April 13, 2015

    Not only focusing on breakfast, but a meal throughout the day is essential to keep one at their peak performance through the day. I personally think the program is a good initiative, but what about lunch? especially to those under privileged pupils. The initiative should be taken into account and be implemented across the whole country but also taking into consideration day meal more especially to the disadvantaged learners. Thumbs up to all programs implemented to improve academic quality. 🙂

  45. #45 M.T
    April 13, 2015

    15166873

  46. #46 Thabang Matsei
    Hatfield
    April 13, 2015

    School Breakfast Program is indeed effective in improving educational performance. I know this for a fact because I myself was one of those learners at my previous school who were also on such a program which was in our case a “Feeding Scheme Program” as it was called. Now speaking from my own experience, I know how hard it is to concentrate or focus in class for at most an hour with an empty stomach. Such programs make a huge impact in many of the needy learner’s educational performance.(15142672)

  47. #47 Anita van Deventer - u15157947
    University of Pretoria
    April 13, 2015

    This is a brilliant initiative to reduce the number of children who have to go to school hungry. We all know that you cannot focus when you are hungry. This “School Breakfast Program” gives children an emotional, physical and intellectual kick start to their day. But like some of the other people have commented, I also wonder about the rest of the day? For most of the children benefiting from this program, its the only meal the receive each day and one meal per day is not healthy in long terms.

  48. #48 Danielle van Wyk
    South Africa
    April 13, 2015

    I think this is an excellent project not only to have a positive influence on an individual life but also on the future of our country. This project helps to minimize the effect of the financial gap in our country. Another possible project is to change the food in school tuck shops from chocolates and fizzy cold drinks to a variety of healthy food. I also hope that the article will motivate people who has access to a healthy breakfast to eat every morning without skipping the first meal of the day because of time or weight excuses. Providing children with breakfast is definitely a basic way to improve their life on a physical, emotional and social level.

  49. #49 Angela Rinsma (u15137768)
    The University of Pretoria
    April 13, 2015

    It is very clear that children as well as people of all ages need food and a healthy diet to be able to function optimally throughout the day.
    I am in owe of the people who dedicate their time and effort into providing a good meal for these children. they are truly making in a difference in the world.
    I only wish more programs like this one could operate in poverty stricken areas, like many parts of Gauteng.
    I am interested to know, does having enough water throughout the day have as big an impact or less of an impact on ones functioning as food?

  50. #50 M.Booysen (u15086705)
    Pretoria
    April 13, 2015

    It is an excellent initiative, because other than this study, several others have also shown that the productivity of the human mind as well as the body is dependant on the nutrition that we receive. Thus it is no surprise that the School Breakfast Program has improved the productivity of the students in the study that has been conducted. It also supports student who cannot afford breakfast on a daily basis due to financial problems and that is a very important aspect. Well done on taking the initiative to do something honourable to ensure the growth of the next generation of leaders of our world!!

  51. #51 Mankge N.S
    south Africa-pretoria
    April 13, 2015

    Feeding schemes projects are actually helping poor kids out, for instance i wouldn’t have finished high school if i had to spend the whole day hungry at school. No energy equals no concentration. And another example is that initially before we had food at our high school we would knock off earlier, because after lunch nobody comes back from home since they had nothing to eat. I believe we need more programs like this in Africa it will save lives. 15254632

  52. #52 Carly Wager
    April 13, 2015

    I also agree with many of the previous comments. In high school I was not a big breakfast eater and found myself often worrying about when my stomach would growl next instead of paying attention to the lectures. It wasn’t until college when I started eating a good healthy breakfast in the morning and I have noticed a great difference in my attentiveness during classes and I also noticed an increase in my academics. I feel the breakfast program is such a crucial program to be implemented in schools because there are so many children who come to school without eating breakfast and many can’t afford to pay to have them eat at the school. I am sure that this program has given the students parents a sense of reassurance and relief knowing that they are receiving a healthy breakfast at school which has also been linked to student achievement according to the research stated above.

  53. #53 Tholi(15177735)
    April 14, 2015

    Breakfast acts like Adrenaline to the Brain. It pumps up the nerve system of the brain and get it Fresh for the future challenges and processing to come, Thus the brains performance is improved after eating breakfast as it processes information fast and more accurately

  54. #54 A.N
    Pretoria
    April 14, 2015

    Yes the breakfast program is effective,as evidence show that kids that eat breakfast do better but I personally feel that the breakfast program should also provide meals throughout the day for under privilege children,as some children do carry lunch.
    u13197721

  55. #55 Rens 15026486
    South Africa
    April 14, 2015

    The human brain works like a machine. It needs fuel to perform a task. Brain cells run on glucose to function properly. A hungry child’s brain will not have the energy to concentrate and process new information. Academic performance is achieved by building a small amount of new information on top of previous layers of information. Hungry children’s academic building blocks will have big holes in them and is shown in poor academic results. In South Africa we face a big challenge with poor math and science results. It would be wonderful to see how much of the problem could be solved with a nutritional feeding scheme.
    Better brain-food equals better results.

    15026486

  56. #56 OvN
    South Africa
    April 14, 2015

    This is an excellent example of the relation between good nutrition and academic achievement. The important factor, however, is the ability of the schools to provide the required nutrition on a continuous basis. Hopefully, this will be possible for years to come. (04648685)

  57. #57 Johann Stadler
    Pretoria
    April 15, 2015

    It is evident from the comments and article that breakfast is the most important meal for any student to optimize brain function during the day. Discussions with my teenage sister led me to interesting conclusions. Many people not taking breakfast does not emanate only from financial inability, but rather from eating disorders. I would therefor propose that the program/investigation is extended to a wider target group to support people with these disorders. Especially girls is prone to eating disorders to control weight increase. (U15048722)

  58. #58 Elwa Montshiwagae
    Pretoria
    April 16, 2015

    We cannot thank the School Breakfast Program enough for doing what they are doing. It clearly sounds like feeding the pupils has a huge impact on their lives as it should. It does not only help them in their academic activities, but also boost their confidence in way that they can see that they have a better future ahead of them.
    This feeding of the pupils does affect their brains positively as the brain receives nutrients from the food they consume.
    The School Breakfast Program needs to continue what they doing and try to target as many schools as possible as this produces positive results which is what the world needs, healthy children for who can do better things in their lives to become future leaders of tomorrow.

    (15329683)

  59. #59 Tholi(15177735)
    April 17, 2015

    I agree with Elwa. The School Breakfast will rise the awareness of the importance of Eating breakfast and the Positve effects of eating Breakfast linked to Academic Performance.

  60. #60 Nicole Konstantinopoulos
    South Africa
    April 17, 2015

    Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day but now that we have discovered that eating breakfast does in fact increase ones learning ability, it raises the question on what food groups are best suited for these children’s specific needs, as one requires many nutrients and this meal could quite possibly be the child’s only meal of the day.
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  61. #61 Zahlia syacey
    Pretoria
    April 19, 2015

    Breakfast is most often referred to as the most important meal of the day. I can relate personally to this article as I never used to eat breakfast in the mornings. My parents then forced me to have breakfast as they made me a smoothie in the mornings which is easy and quick to consume. Once I started eating breakfast I realized that it is a lot easier to concentrate in the early morning classes when you’ve eaten. My marks increased by five percent when I started eating breakfast.
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  62. #62 A Fick
    Pretoria
    April 19, 2015

    No “motors” can run without fuel just like your car won’t go if the fuel tank is empty. Being a teenager who is constantly hungry I know that I cannot function and focus when my “tank” is empty. I know of a feeding program at a very poor school, where it has definitely been proved that children cannot concentrate before they have had a meal. Extremely sad where there isn’t money to feed children!
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