Allyson Felix: Energize your Day with School Breakfast

The School Breakfast Program (SBP), managed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, aims to promote the health and well-being of children by providing nutritious meals to children. The program helps schools, day care centers and after-school programs fight hunger and obesity by providing healthy meals. No child should spend their entire day thinking about where they’re getting their next meal. Here’s what you should know about children and breakfast:

1. Children who participate in school breakfast are more likely to consume diets that are
adequate or exceed standards for important vitamins and minerals (e.g., vitamin C,
vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous).

2. Children and adolescents who skip breakfast are likely to consume less nutrients
than those who eat breakfast. Children who eat breakfast regularly are known to have
greater intake of fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals,
and lower intake of fat, cholesterol.

3. School breakfast participation is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI,
an indicator of excess body fat).

4. Children who skip breakfast have poorer health outcomes and health-compromising behaviors,
including higher blood cholesterol and insulin levels, smoking, alcohol use, physical
inactivity, disordered eating, and unhealthy weight management practices.

5. Participation in breakfast offered free affects children’s mental health. Children’s mental
health improves, including reductions in behavioral problems, anxiety, and depression.

6. Food insecurity is associated with some of the most costly health problems in the U.S.,
including diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Children experiencing hunger are more
likely to experience lower physical functioning, more frequent stomachaches and headaches,
and mental health problems (e.g., depression and anxiety), and to be in poorer health.

7. Students who participate in school breakfast have improved attendance, behavior, and
academic performance. Children also have decreased tardiness.

8. Students who participate in school breakfast have improved attendance, behavior, and
academic performance.

9. Children who are less nourished have poorer cognitive functioning when they miss breakfast.

10. Participating in school breakfast is associated with improved math grades, attendance, and
punctuality.

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