Oregon Department of Education
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8/10/2013 10:17:00 AM
Start the School Day Right-- Eat Breakfast
Information provided by the Oregon Public Health Division

Endless research on the eating habits of children confirms the value of the morning meal. Breakfast eaters tend to miss less school, maintain optimal weight, eat healthier, and visit the school nurse less often. Compared to students who routinely skip breakfast, those who eat breakfast have better attention and memory and tend to be better behaved in class.

Oregon school breakfast programs follow strict nutrition guidelines set by the USDA. Schools that serve breakfast help children develop life-long healthy eating habits and provide nutritious and affordable meals to children of all income levels across the state.

With 1 in 5 Oregon children living in poverty, many living in households that are food insecure –unable to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis - school breakfast (and lunch) provide healthy and consistent meals. However, only half of eligible students participate in school breakfast programs in Oregon, and as age increases, breakfast eating frequency decreases. By high school less than 4 in 10 adolescents eat breakfast daily, a critical time for developing bodies and minds.

What educators and parents can do:
  • Be a positive role model. Your healthy habits are noticed. Encourage students to eat breakfast and let them see you eat breakfast. Speak positively about school meals.
  • Support breakfast after the bell. Scheduling breakfast after the bell rings or in the class room encourages school breakfast participation for all grade levels.
  • Get involved. Encourage more families to participate. Dollars for school lunch and the quality of meals is dependent on participation.
  • Support universal breakfast programs. Schools with universal breakfast have a much higher participation rate. Universal breakfast provides breakfast to all students regardless of need and lessens the stigma on children who receive free or reduced-priced meals.

  • Resources: For more information, contact Jennifer Young, MPH,RD, Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator, Oregon Public Health Division. Jennifer.l.young@state.or.us eMail, 971-673-0245
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