NEWS AND VIEWS: Breakfast clubs: availability for British schoolchildren and the nutritional, social and academic benefits

Margaret Anne Defeyter, Pamela L. Graham, Jenny Walton, Tony Apicella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Breakfast clubs are not a new resource for parents and children, but interest in them has heightened, because of both the need for improvement in school food and political interest in their availability across the devolved countries. It has been suggested that concrete scientific evidence as to their benefits to academic performance be required before a breakfast club should be available for children across the UK. It is inappropriate to correlate crude measures such as Standard Assessment Test (SAT) scores and exam results with breakfast club provision, and the focus of analysis should be individual pupil benefit (both scholastically and socially), nutrient intake, meal provision and even assisting working parents with child care. There is limited data available to investigate the adequacy of food provision in school breakfast clubs, but there is now sufficient information available for breakfast club organisers to provide a nutritionally balanced breakfast. A body of evidence is emerging that demonstrates the benefits of breakfast club attendance to mental performance and social development. However, it is unclear whether such benefits are derived from the consumption of breakfast per se, the environment or a combination of the two. It is reasonably safe to conclude that the benefits of breakfast clubs are more pronounced in deprived areas, and efforts of charities to support breakfast clubs should focus in these areas. Given the role and importance of school breakfast clubs, ContinYou, a leading national charity, pledged support in establishing 200 more school breakfast clubs over 2009 and 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

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