Monday, March 31, 2014

New research on breakfast in the classroom

Educators and school nutrition personnel in recent years have been discussing and debating the merits of serving breakfast in the classroom at the start of the school day, rather than in cafeterias. Participation is higher for breakfast in the classroom, leading to high hopes for increased impact on beneficial health and learning outcomes, while at the same time raising concerns about over-consumption for children whose in-class breakfast is their second meal of the morning.

New research in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management uses a "difference in difference" design before and after implementation in a large urban school district in the southwest, finding that breakfast in the classroom rather than the cafeteria has a positive effect on test scores. It is possible that the benefits are due to improved performance on the day of the test (perhaps because the kids were less hungry that morning) rather than longer term learning, but the favorable results are still notable.

This research, and related research, is discussed in a new video from ChildObesity180, an initiative led by Christina Economos and many colleagues here at the Friedman School at Tufts. This video, which briefly summarizes both sides of the debate before arguing in favor of breakfast in the classroom, is part of an extensive video series on school breakfast issues.

1 comment:

Ciera Wilkerson said...

Breakfast in the class room is a great idea in my opinion. Most of the time breakfast in school is served early before the day starts. So students who would benefit from school breakfast don't arrive in time. Schools shut down the lines sometimes 10 to 15 minutes before the first bell rings. Breakfast in the classroom would eliminate students in need from missing out. Although so students may eat double, it is still a good option because those kids who wouldn't get to eat at all will have a chance.