To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.
B is for BREAKFAST
Want the low-down on the benefits of breakfast for school-aged children? Just ask those on the front lines of education – classroom teachers. That is what Share our Strength did in the No Kid Hungry 2012 Teacher’s Report Hunger in Our Schools.
Teachers know the realities of hunger in America’s classrooms – and they know the educational, behavioral and health benefits of breakfast (see graph below). What they may not know is that school breakfast also helps to fill the nutrition gaps experienced by US children and teens. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee Report, American young people, especially teenage girls, have numerous nutrient ‘shortfalls.’ Many are not getting enough vitamin A, C and E, magnesium and phosphorus. Even more are lacking the four nutrients of concern: vitamin D, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber.
The good news it is that a simple school breakfast – fruit, whole grain cereal or bread, and low-fat dairy – helps to fill those nutrient gaps. School breakfast also provides the protein and energy that students need to focus, concentrate and learn until lunch time. Such a simple meal – with so many breakfast benefits!