Breakfast The Answer: Improving School Performance
BREAKFAST THE ANSWER TO IMPROVING SCHOOL PERFORMANCE
Results released today of New Zealand's first qualitative study into the impact eating breakfast has on school performance proves pupils who eat breakfast everyday are more aware in class, strive for greater results, have improved concentration spans, and have more energy in the mornings.
Specifically, two-thirds of the 30 participating Aorere College secondary school students said they noticed their energy levels had improved from below average to above average and higher. An overwhelming 96 percent said they believed eating breakfast contributed to their health and performance throughout the day.
At the conclusion of the Get Going With Breakfast (GGWB) campaign's month-long study the participating pupils and their teachers agreed they were happier and more settled in class, less lethargic, tried harder and were less moody after consuming breakfast.
The Principal of Papatoetoe West Primary School, Trevor Canute, says there was a marked improvement in the work habits of those pupils who eat breakfast everyday as part of the GGWB programme.
"We had known for a variety of reasons some children didn't eat breakfast regularly. What we didn't know was how severely these habits were affecting their schooling," Mr Canute says.
"During the month of the GGWB programme we saw an academic results and most importantly the participating pupils had higher self-esteem and displayed a more caring attitude toward their fellow classmates."
For the past month a total of 60 South Auckland secondary and primary school pupils participated in the GGWB School Breakfast Programme by eating breakfast everyday supplied by the five campaign partners. The students were surveyed about their breakfast eating habits and how they felt in the mornings at the start and end of the programme.
As a result the majority of participating pupils had notably higher energy levels and now believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day.
Additionally there was a drop of 42 percentage points in the number of Aorere College secondary school students who snacked all the time before lunch. A similar result was recorded among primary pupils at Papatoetoe West School where the number who said they felt hungry before play lunch halved between the beginning and end of the programme.
Campaign spokesperson and leading dietician Jeni Pearce says these results are very important as they confirm what those working in the health areas have long believed that eating breakfast is crucial to mental, physical and academic performances and improved behaviour of young New Zealanders.
"The research results also show that eating regular meals like breakfast reduce in-between meal hunger and the need to snack on foods high in fat, the latter of which is a contributor to child obesity," Ms. Pearce says. "
The Get Going With Breakfast campaign is in its third successful year of raising awareness about the importance of eating breakfast everyday among New Zealanders. It is consistent with the Food and Nutrition Guidelines, is supported by the Ministry of Health and the Hillary Commission. The campaign messages are also endorsed by the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation and the National Heart Foundation.
It is the initiative of five of the country's leading food manufacturers - Frucor Beverages (Just Juice), NZ Dairy Foods (Anchor Milk), Sanitarium (Weet-Bix), Goodman Fielder Milling and Baking (Quality Bakers) and Turners and Growers (Bonita Bananitos).
Released on behalf of the Get Going With
Breakfast campaign partners by Porter Novelli New Zealand