Common sense says that we get better results with better fuel, and research provides the data to back it up.
A project by the Toronto District School Board, ‘Feeding Our Future: The First and Second-Year Evaluation’ (March 2012) showed that 78 per cent of grade 10 students who ate morning meals on most days were on track for graduation compared to 61 per cent who ate morning meals on only a few days or not at all.
Other findings showed:
- Middle school students who ate breakfast at school on most days achieved or exceeded provincial reading standards by a rate 10 per cent higher than students who did not have breakfast
- Middle school students who ate breakfast at school most days achieved better results in science courses
- Middle school students who ate breakfast at school showed higher rates of independent work, problem solving and class participation
- Secondary school students who ate breakfast at school were half as likely to be suspended and were more likely to attend school regularly
Closer to home, the Kids Eat Smart Year-End Principals Evaluation (2010-2011) showed that 100 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that Kids Eat Smart Clubs in Newfoundland and Labrador contribute to an improved atmosphere in their schools.
- 87 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that Kids Eat Smart Clubs contribute to an improved attention span in students; and
- 75 per cent agree or strongly agree that Kids Eat Smart Clubs contribute to decreased disruptions in the classroom.
Findings from Kids Eat Smart evaluations and the Toronto School District study let us know good eating really does equal good thinking. So how can you help make breakfast a healthy start to your child’s day?
- Be sure to include foods from 3 of the 4 food groups
- Include at least one fruit or veggie
- Choose whole grains more often
- Choose high fibre cereals
- Be creative and shake things up – add a smoothie to the breakfast mix!
Since it started in 1992, the Kids Eat Smart Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken an evidence-based approach to its program and findings from the Foundation and from other similar organizations show that nutrition programs support learning. It supports the operation of over 200 Kids Eat Smart clubs in school across the province.
Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.