A new study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal has identified the strongest link yet between a healthy breakfast and school success for kids.
It's thought to be the largest study to date on the subject, as researchers out of Cardiff University surveyed 5,000 kids ages 9-11 about their eating habits. They found those youngsters who munched on healthy morning fare were twice as likely to perform above average on Teacher Assessment scores versus kiddos who skipped the most important meal of the day.
To reach their conclusions, researchers asked participants to report everything they ate and drank over the course of 24 hours, including two breakfasts. A strong link between eating a healthy morning meal and standardized test performance was noted. Munching on healthy foods throughout the day also seemed to boost test scores.
Interestingly, the quality of the items on the menu at breakfast time seemed to matter. Eating unhealthy items such as sweets or snacks showed no positive impact on educational achievement.
Researchers hope the results of this study will encourage schools to focus on making sure all students have access to a healthy breakfast.
"For schools, dedicating time and resource towards improving child health can be seen as an unwelcome diversion from their core business of educating pupils, in part due to pressures that place the focus on solely driving up educational attainment," noted the study's lead author, Hannah Littlecott from Cardiff University's Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement. "But this resistance to delivery of health improvement interventions overlooks the clear synergy between health and education. Clearly, embedding health improvements into the core business of the school might also deliver educational improvements as well."
Need any more evidence that serving up a healthy meal for your kids before sending them off to school has its benefits? We didn't think so.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.