An analysis from a nonprofit group concludes that providing more low-income students with a nutritious school breakfast can significantly improve their health, academic performance and future economic success.
In the study, “Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis,” as part of its No Hungry Kid campaign, Share Our Strength, an organization that combats hunger and poverty, conducted an analysis of publicly available data to measure the effect of the availability of school breakfast.
“On average, students who eat school breakfast have been shown to achieve 17.5 percent higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school,” the report says. “Research also shows students who attend class more regularly are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school, and high school graduates typically earn $10,090 more a year while enjoying a 4 percent higher employment rate.”
Of low-income students who eat school lunch (21 million) only about half (11 million) eat school breakfast.
Share Our Strength estimates that if 70 percent of elementary and middle-school students eating a free or reduced-price lunch were also to get a healthful school breakfast, it would result in 3.2 million more students per year achieving better scores on standardized math tests, 4.8 million fewer school absences per year and 807,000 more students graduating from high school.