Academic… Social/Emotional… Health Outcomes… there are many benefits to school meals. Get a taste of some below.
Schools are facing a crisis of chronic absenteeism: Even before the pandemic, nearly 8 million students were missing at least three weeks of the school year. A 2019 study found that serving breakfast as part of the school day — a.k.a. Breakfast After the Bell models, such as serving it in the classroom, or having it available to grab and go from kiosks throughout the school — can reduce absenteeism by an average of 6 percentage points. Learn more.
Expanding participation in school meals programs can nourish students while simultaneously building social-emotional learning skills. Students need time for connection, social interaction, and building positive relationships. Plus, offering meals at school satisfies a student’s basic needs — the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy — establishes routines, and provides stability. Learn more.
The chronic absenteeism study also found students had a 6 percentage point improvement on a scale measuring “internalizing behaviors” such as anxiety and loneliness when served breakfast as part of the school day. Learn more.
A social impact analysis by Deloitte found that school breakfast can have a potentially dramatic effect on students. On average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. Learn more.
The chronic absenteeism study also found students had a 1.5 percentage point improvement in reading achievementt when served breakfast as part of the school day. Learn more.
A study by researchers at Tufts University found that Americans eat food of mostly poort nutritional quality — except at school. The study analyzed all meals eatedn by Americans over 16 years. 80% of children’s meals from restaurants were categorized as having poor nutritional quality, compared to only 24% of meals from schools. “Schools are now the single healthiest place Americans are eating,” said the senior author of the study. It also found that from 2003 to 2018, improvements in food consumed from schools were equitable by race/ethnicity, education, and household income. Learn more.