The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents
A brief compiled by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) outlines the correlation between breakfast and school performance among. The beneficial effects of eating breakfast on cognitive performance are .. reported a significant association between habitual breakfast consumption and. It affects everything from memory to creativity in the classroom. University on the relationship between breakfast and academic performance.
Importantly, the American Dietary guidelines incorporate the daily consumption of a nutrient rich breakfast due to its considerable benefits [ 12 ]. Increasing breakfast consumption could be a useful public health and education enhancing intervention.
However, far less research has considered the effects of breakfast on ecologically valid outcomes of academic performance compared with the relatively plentiful publications on cognitive performance. Therefore, assumptions about the benefits of breakfast for schoolchildren's learning are based on evidence demonstrating the acute effects of breakfast on schoolchildren's cognitive test performance from laboratory-based studies.
Does Eating Breakfast Affect Children's Learning? | Healthy Eating | SF Gate
The academic performance outcomes employed by studies included either school grades or standardized achievement tests. Despite the paucity of studies, there was consistent evidence that habitual breakfast consumption has a positive effect on children's academic performance. Increased frequency of habitual breakfast was consistently positively associated with academic performance [ 1 ]. The eating behaviour of individuals is affected by a large number of factors including psychological, socio-cultural and educational factors [ 12 ].
It is very critical to identify who are at higher risk of breakfast skipping and what the reasons are behind such behaviour.
Previous studies found that students with lower social economic status, lower parental educational level and divorced parents are the most likely to skip breakfast in comparison to other students [ 12 ]. Investigations found that the main reasons behind breakfast skipping among students were: Measurements of student performance at school have received substantial attention in earlier research; it is challenging to determine different aspects that might be of significance for student performance.
There is no doubt that school performance of students is a very important factor that has a massive effect on their future. Studies found that students' school performance is dependent on a variety of factors, of which some are: These factors strongly influence student performance, but the extent of the effect may differ from individual to individual and from country to country [ 7 ]. Furthermore, studies concluded that children who are undernourished appeared to have increased absence from school and diminished attention, as well as encountering more health problems in comparison with well-nourished children, all of which would indeed affect performance at school [ 8 ].
Given the lack of studies in this area in the UAE, and due to the common practice of skipping breakfast among the young generation, more research is required in this area. Results will be valuable for health providers to develop policies and programs that focus on improving students' health and nutritional status.
Does Eating Breakfast Affect Children's Learning?
Therefore, the objectives of this study were to examine the effect of breakfast intake on the academic performance of female students, to investigate some factors that lead to breakfast-skipping behaviour and to suggest possible recommendations that might encourage breakfast consumption. Methods This is a cross-sectional study where convenience sampling technique was used to select the study population.
Initially a total of participants, all females between the ages of 15 and 19 years, were recruited from two private schools in Abu Dhabi. Informed consent was obtained from all the students prior to their participation in the study. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire to study the correlation between breakfast consumption and academic performance.
The questionnaire was developed and refined on the basis of the contents of peer review journals. It was prepared in Arabic, then translated into English and then back into Arabic and reviewed by professionals for consistency.
It elicited information about breakfast intake, frequency of intake, anthropometric measurements and some demographic factors. The questionnaire was pretested and then revised to enhance its clarity and comprehension.
In order to reduce bias and ensure that the results would be as accurate and precise as possible, we chose two private the schools with the same studying hours — 7: Out of female students who agreed to participate in the study, a total of were included in the study and completed the questionnaire.
The exclusion criteria included disorders or health problems that affect cognition and performance. The most common health problem that was found among students was migraines. Number of discipline referrals. Overby and Hoigaard Four secondary schools Norway. Questionnaire, 1 item to measure BF. BF intake classified as: Higher scores indicating poorer behavior. Total scores dichotomized into two categories: Considered nutritionally balanced including milk, RTEC, bread, muffin, fruit, juice.
Stratified by SBP participation: Significantly greater decreases in hyperactivity scores in children who increased participation in SBP post intervention compared with children who had not changed SBP participation. Ni Mhurchu et al. Low sugar RTEC, low-fat milk, bread, spreads honey, jam, and margarinechocolate flavored milk powder, and sugar Control: No significant effect of SBP on behavior vs. Proportion of children eating BF everyday did not change.
Decrease in proportion of children eating BF at home, increase in proportion of children eating BF at school. Teacher completed behavior assessment on sub-sample of 5 pupils in 2 year groups. Considered nutritionally balanced Control: No difference in classroom behavior in intervention vs. Funding for free SBP Control: Teachers completed questionnaire for primary school children.
Self-report version for secondary school children. Adjusted for school type, gender, FSM status. For analysis of behavior, children classified as: Attended at least once O'Sullivan et al. The Western Australian Pregnancy cohort study. Bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and dairy alternatives, meat, and meat alternatives. Increase in BF quality associated with decrease in internalizing behavior score and a decrease in externalizing behavior scores.
Increase in BF quality associated with decrease in total child behavior score. Stepwise decrease in total score with increasing breakfast quality. PA, sedentary behavior, weight status, family income, maternal education, maternal age of conception, family structure, family functioning.
Aggression, delinquency Total behavior: Internalizing subscale, externalizing subscale, social thought, and attention problems. Data collection in five waves: Parental questionnaire, 1 item to assess family BF frequency. No significant association between frequency of family BF and behavior. Fixed effects model results used as provides most unbiased estimates: Gender, ethnicity, family SES, parental education, family income, parental job prestige, family structure, area of residence, language, maternal employment during preschool, birth weight, teaching quality, school quality, region of residence, parental working hours, single parent family.
Externalizing subscale behavior coded: Internalizing subscale behavior coded: Teachers rated behavior until grade 5. Children completed scales at grade 8.
Acceptable to good reliability on both scales. Observations of behavior in the classroom Direct measures of classroom behavior were utilized in 11 studies. Although there are inconsistent findings, the evidence indicated a mainly positive effect of breakfast on on-task behavior in the classroom in children.
Seven of the eleven studies demonstrated a positive effect of breakfast on on-task behavior. Two studies carried out in undernourished samples Chang et al. One study reported a negative effect of a SBP on behavior in undernourished children Cueto and Chinen, and three studies in children with behavioral problems demonstrated no effect of breakfast composition on behavior Kaplan et al. Most studies included small samples of the order of 10—30 children which, although limited in terms of power and generalizability to the larger population, are more feasible and appropriate given the nature of the data and extensive coding methods required.
Four intervention studies demonstrated a positive effect of SBPs on on-task behavior in undernourished and low SES children. Following a 6-week SBP providing approximately Kcal per day at breakfast, children in the intervention group displayed significantly less off-task and out of seat behavior and significantly more class participation Richter et al. Concomitant teacher ratings of hyperactivity also declined significantly in the intervention group, however teachers reported no change in attention.
This effect has also been demonstrated in adolescents. Two studies in small samples of adolescents aged 14—19 years showed an increase in on-task behavior in the classroom following an unstandardized teacher led SBP in vocational schools in USA Bro et al. Cueto and Chinen observed a reduction in on-task behavior following a 3-year SBP measured using time per day spent in the classroom as an indirect proxy measure. The design of the intervention required teachers to dedicate time to providing the breakfast mid-morning.
This unexpected negative impact on on-task behavior is unlikely to occur when breakfast is delivered before school by non-teaching staff and when direct measures of classroom behavior are employed.
Seven studies employed a within-subjects acute experimental design to examine the effects of breakfast on classroom behavior across the morning. The findings were inconsistent, with three of the seven studies showing an advantage of breakfast on on-task behavior Chang et al. Children spent significantly more time on-task following a low GL breakfast meal compared with medium and high GL breakfast meals.
This effect was specific to the first 10 min of the observation. Children also displayed fewer signs of frustration during a video game observation, but again, effects were short lived and specific to the initial observation period.
No significant effects were found for distracted behavior. Although meals aimed to be isocaloric, actual intake across conditions was variable and the macronutrient content differed between conditions.
Consequently, the difference in classroom behavior may be due to differences in macronutrient content rather than GL. Four studies failed to find a similar advantage for on-task behavior in children with Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity ADD-H or behavioral problems Kaplan et al.
Mixed results were reported when comparing the effects of breakfast vs. A significant increase in on-task behavior was observed following a Kcal breakfast, which was seen only in the well-equipped school. In the three less well-equipped schools, behavior deteriorated following breakfast with an observed increase in off-task behavior talking, movement. The well-equipped school had separate classrooms for each class and each child had their own desk, an environment probably more conducive to positive in-class behavior.
The deterioration of behavior following breakfast in the less well-equipped schools could reflect greater difficulties in accurately observing whether children are on-task or off-task when they do not have their own desk or are in overcrowded classrooms.
In developed high income countries where school infrastructure is more standardized and where classrooms are not overcrowded, this possibly spurious effect is less likely to occur Murphy et al. However, negative effects on behavior have also been reported in UK primary and secondary school children within deprived areas following a SBP Shemilt et al. Therefore, other factors, including the breakfast club environment, delivery, and staff engagement with the SBP may have also influenced the impact of breakfast on behavior, as well as school structure.
For example, activities during the breakfast club and general atmosphere may promote negative and excitable behavior. Nutritional status did not influence the results of Chang et al's study, however, the degree of undernourishment was mild. It is possible that positive effects may be more demonstrable in children who are more severely undernourished.
In addition, an appropriate environment in terms of classroom structure and equipment is needed to accurately observe the effects of breakfast. One study examined the effects of breakfast size with or without a mid-morning snack Benton and Jarvis, This suggests a mid-morning snack is only beneficial for children who have skipped or eaten very little for breakfast and corrects the energy deficiency.
Rating scales and questionnaires Twelve studies utilized teacher completed rating scales to assess children's behavior at school following breakfast. These studies usually employed global scales to assess a range of behavioral domains including: The majority used standardized, established measures of behavior comparable across studies.
Of the 12 studies that utilized rating scales and questionnaires, only two studies used unstandardized questionnaires and interviews with teachers to measure behavior Wahlstrom and Begalle, ; Overby and Hoigaard, Six of the twelve studies demonstrated a positive effect of breakfast on behavior at school, which was mainly hyperactivity and disruptive behavior.
Six intervention studies reported mixed evidence for the effects of SBPs on behavior at school. Two studies in low SES and undernourished children aged 8—10 years reported beneficial effects on hyperactivity Richter et al. In a longitudinal analysis of a 4-month SBP, Murphy et al.
Similarly, results from a 6-week SBP in undernourished children indicated a significant decline in ACTeRS hyperactivity scores following the SBP, but no change in attention, social skills and oppositional behavior during lessons Richter et al. Wahlstrom and Begalle reported an increase in social behavior and readiness to learn from interviews with teachers following a 3-year SBP.