News

For Immediate Release
November 15, 2010

School breakfast starts the day off right


Studies show students who eat healthy breakfast improve their academic achievement

November 16 conference focuses on school breakfast

SPRINGFIELD – Participation in school breakfast programs increased by more than 25 percent since 2006, and more than 15 percent alone last school year. The National School Breakfast Program, established in 1975, has proven to improve student well being and academic performance.

“Students who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to attend school, arrive to class on time and retain and recall lessons,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This is a program that can have a big impact on students’ well being and academic performance.”

Studies have shown that students who participate in the School Breakfast Program have lower rates of absence and tardiness which can increase the General Revenue dollars received by the local district.

The School Breakfast Program has shown that students offered breakfast closer to class and test-taking time perform better on standardized tests. A breakfast program can also improve math grades, vocabulary skills and memory.

Research also demonstrates that students who eat school breakfast, often eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume less saturated fat than breakfast skippers. School breakfast provides one-fourth of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calories.

School Breakfast Programs play a role in eliminating childhood hunger. Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 15.5 million children or 20.7 percent of all children under 18 were considered poor. Schools are implementing alternative serving methods to increase the number of students served such as breakfast in the classroom for all students, grab-n-go or kiosk stations as students enter the building, and second chance opportunities during a mid-morning break.

The following graph shows participation in the School Breakfast Program in Illinois during the federal fiscal year Oct. 1 through September 30. The FY10 numbers are not final; more meals are expected to be added by the reporting deadline at the end of November.

FY Oct - Sep
Free Meals
Reduced Meals
Paid Meals
Total Meals
Meals Increased
% Increase
Total Reimbursement
FY 2006
36,021,247
2,748,405
5,773,325
44,542,977
4,768,637
11.99%
$ 57,818,799.88
FY 2007
36,676,515
2,921,802
5,932,756
45,531,073
988,096
2.22%
$ 61,375,344.14
FY 2008
38,319,553
3,066,722
6,205,718
47,591,993
2,060,920
4.53%
$ 66,773,962.46
FY 2009
40,962,070
3,275,067
6,096,663
50,333,800
2,741,807
5.76%
$ 74,283,966.00
FY 2010
47,788,893
3,684,612
6,559,369
58,032,874
7,699,074
15.30%
$ 89,215,262.78

As part of Illinois School Breakfast Week November 15 through 19, the State Board of Education will host a free conference November 16 at the Intermediate Service Center in Bellwood to address a variety of topics, including recent research related to breakfast consumption and ways to maximize nutrition in breakfast meals with USDA foods.

For more information and an agenda, go to http://www.isbe.net/nutrition and click on Illinois School Breakfast in Action Summit under Special Events and Workshops.

###