The Scoop on Food

Why Breakfast Should Become a Part of the School Day

Girl eating in cafeteria
More than half of public school children in America come from low-income families, and nearly 21 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch through their schools. But of those children, only half are eating the breakfast that they also qualify for. Educators and health professionals agree that in order for a child to get the most out of their education, they must have the fuel to do so—and only eating an adequate lunch is not nearly enough.

A report released by No Kid Hungry poses a solution: breakfast should be served as a part of the regular school day. This eliminates the potential of children missing the school breakfast that's served before the school day begins, and creates a better sense of community where no child feels singled out for receiving a breakfast that others don't.

Teachers whose students eat breakfast in the classroom agree that it really does make a difference. Classroom teachers reported seeing more attentive students (73 percent), improved attendance (53 percent), and fewer disciplinary problems (48 percent), according to the report.

Some schools have made already made adjustments, and the difference is noticeable. "Since the start of the 2014 school year, 302,207 more children are getting the healthy breakfast they need at school as compared to last year," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And that pattern is likely to continue as more schools make positive changes.

"This is America. We have tons of food. It makes no sense for people to go hungry," said elementary school teacher, Robbie Butler.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn

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Image: Children eating in cafeteria via Shutterstock