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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Wisconsin Kids Participating in Breakfast Programs at School

More Wisconsin Kids Participating in Breakfast Programs at School

More children are getting access to and participating in school breakfast programs across the state according to a new report.

During the 2011-2012 school year, the number of Wisconsin low-income students eating breakfast at school increased by 4.3 percent according to the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) School Breakfast Scorecard.

The number of students who participated in the school breakfast program (free, reduced-price, and full-price students) in Wisconsin increased by over 7,000 children in the 2011-2012 school year.

This means that children who are being offered school breakfast, whether they are low-income or not, are participating. Children with access to school nutrition programs including breakfast, have the opportunity to start their day with the nutrients they need for a day of learning.

Research in the area of child nutrition shows that children who eat breakfast demonstrate an increased ability to learn and improved behavior in the classroom. Studies have also shown that eating breakfast improves mood, decreases the risk of being overweight and improves the overall quality of a child’s diet.

Evidence shows that breakfast is beneficial for kids. We are impressed with efforts that schools continue to make in increasing access to school breakfast programs. These programs will continue to have a positive impact on the academic performance and nutritional health of school age children in Wisconsin.

In addition to the link between academics and breakfast consumption, research suggests that students who have access to school breakfast tend to have lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness. When a child can focus on what is being taught in the classroom instead of focusing on food due to hunger, they are more likely to have better academic outcomes.

While participation in the breakfast program is rising, many Wisconsin children still miss breakfast on a daily basis, due to lack of time, limited household income, or because they do not have access to breakfast at school.

Here in Wisconsin, about 71 percent of schools that participate in the National School Lunch program also participate in the School Breakfast program. Although this is lower than the national average of about 91 percent, the number of Wisconsin schools offering school breakfast has been increasing over the past few years.

The FRAC School Breakfast Scorecard shows that Wisconsin had a 2.5 percent increase in the number of schools that adopted a school breakfast program.

To see the latest FRAC School Breakfast report, go to:

For more information on Wisconsin School Breakfast programs, go to:

Source: Amy Korth, UW-Extension Nutrition Education & School Breakfast Initiatives Specialist

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