It's National School Breakfast Week, a celebration launched 30 years ago to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children. This year's theme is "Start Your Engines with School Breakfast," and several HOST members are zooming ahead with information, ideas, and success stories.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reminds us that 12.5 million low-income children received school breakfast on an average school day during the 2017–2018 school year. School breakfast participation helps to improve children’s dietary intake, helping to decrease the risk of food insecurity, childhood obesity, and other negative health outcomes. It has also been linked with fewer visits to the school nurse, particularly in the morning. Research shows, too, that school breakfast can help to boost test scores, improve attendance, and increase focus and engagement in the classroom. Despite this, federal and state agencies, school districts, educators, and advocates must continue to build on the momentum school breakfast has gained in recent years to ensure that more low-income children start the school day with a healthy meal.
- FRAC also offers a number of resources to help promote local participation in the week, including sample talking points, social media posts, and a press release, along with infographics about the benefits of breakfast in the classroom.
- FRAC has also released its latest School Breakfast Scorecard, which analyzes nationwide and state-by-state participation in the School Breakfast Program for the 2017-2018 school year. The report includes best practices for increasing participation in the program.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers activities, posters, and other materials for families and schools to promote healthy breakfast habits.
- Action for Healthy Kids offers a number of tips, resources, and ways to take action in observance of the week (and beyond).
- Articles in NIOST's Afterschool Matters journal have shown the importance of out-of-school time for healthy eating: "Healthy Eating in Out-of-School Time: The Promise and the Challenge" and "The Role of Out-of-School Time in Reducing Hunger and Preventing Obesity."
For examples of how specific schools are observing the week and extending their actions across the year, check out these news stories.