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Brands, health advocates & FDA strive to ensure children go to school with breakfast

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By Elizabeth Crawford

24-Aug-2017

Brands, advocates & FDA help children go to school with breakfast

With one in six children in the US and one in five in Canada entering classrooms hungry each morning, food service players, CPG manufacturers, FDA and non-profits are raising awareness about the importance of breakfast and striving to feed more children at the start of the day.

Hunger is well documented as negatively impacting children’s academic performance, but new research from Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days Survey of Canadian teachers “raises new concerns beyond academic performance,” including poor behavior, lost productivity and trouble socializing, according to Kellogg Canada.

The survey of 405 randomly selected Canadian teachers in late July found a whopping 95% of agree that children who start the school day without eating breakfast, on average, engage less and perform worse academically than those who eat a morning meal.

More specifically, 93% of teachers said hungry children are more irritable and disruptive in the classroom, 86% said they tend to bully other students more and two-thirds said they struggle to make friends.

Academically, teachers estimate that children who skip breakfast lose up to two hours a day due to lack of productivity, according to the survey.

To help ease these problems and ensure as many children eat breakfast as possible industry players, government officials and public health advocates all are taking steps to make more meals available.

Kellogg Canada, for example, is offering an award of $10,000 to enhance the school breakfast program of one lucky Breakfast Club volunteer who is nominated between Aug. 22 and Sept. 15 and selected for the Kellogg Canada Feeding Better Days Award. The award will go to someone who volunteers at a school breakfast club – a program that many Canadian schools rely on to feed children in the mornings.

No Kid Hungry takes its message on the road

In the US, the non-profit No Kid Hungry is raising awareness about the negative impact of hunger on school performance and money to help provide breakfast to children in need, by touring the country in a school bus.

The non-profit kicked off the tour Aug. 21 in New York and will end in Los Angeles Sept. 13 with events held in cities across the country. The tour will promote the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry program in which patrons eating at any of 11,000 participating restaurants in September can donate to No Kid Hungry in exchange for money-saving rewards.

According to the non-profit, every $1 donated can feed a child 10 meals through No Kid Hungry programs and partnerships.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be waffles and eggs

Finally, FDA also is promoting the importance of breakfast in an Aug. 17 blog post aimed at parents.

“Growing bodies and developing brains need regular, healthy meals,” ad when they miss breakfast they don’t get what they need to be at their best, writes agency dietitian Carole Adler.

Recognizing that time is tight in the morning, Adler recommends that parents prep meals the night before and not shy away from serving up leftovers from dinner or other foods that their children like – even if not traditional breakfast dishes – as long as their kids get a balanced diet throughout the day. 

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