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Going Places with a Healthy School Breakfast
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (February 13, 2006) – From sliced apples to yogurt: every school-day morning about 9.2 million children enjoy a healthy school breakfast. Served in the classroom or the cafeteria, school breakfast is now more nutritious and more popular than ever. And children that eat school breakfast are really going places: as research continues to show that eating a school breakfast helps improve student academic performance. That is a lot to celebrate, and during National School Breakfast Week from March 6-10, 2006, schools nationwide will do just that with this year’s theme: “Go Places with School Breakfast.”
Today’s healthy school breakfast often includes servings of whole grains and fresh fruits, all part of meeting the federal nutrition guidelines based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that require 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowances for protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and calories. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) 2005 Trend Survey found that 55% of school districts surveyed made significant efforts to offer healthy school breakfasts in the past two years, with a further 25% making at least some effort to offer healthy breakfast choices.
More children than ever are eating school breakfast as well. Participation in the nation's School Breakfast Program rose to 9.2 million children during the 2004-2005 school year, the largest increase since the 1994-1995 school year, according to the annual School Breakfast Scorecard released in December 2005 by the Food Research and Action Center.
More children eating a healthy school breakfast, means more children are going places. Research shows that children who eat breakfast have improved memory, problem-solving skills, verbal fluency and creative abilities. Qualitative research, including studies conducted by Harvard University and the University of Minnesota, also point to improvements in standardized test scores in children who ate a school breakfast.
The “Go Places” theme focuses on how ‘fueling up’ with a good breakfast sets you up for a day (and life) of going places and is aimed at students’ interest in travel and transportation of all sorts. Activities nationwide are planned for National School Breakfast Week, including guest servers, decorated cafeterias and celebrations around the “Go Places” theme. Special breakfast menus include “Egg Rockets” and “Start Your Engine Oatmeal Squares.” Resources to help plan special breakfast events in schools nationwide were made possible by SNA and General Mills and are available at www.schoolnutrition.org/nsbw. Additionally, in conjunction with the ‘got breakfast’ campaign launched last December to promote school breakfast, students nationwide can enter an essay contest describing why they feel breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
The School Nutrition Association launched NSBW in 1989 to raise awareness about the availability of breakfast for all students at school and to draw attention to the link between eating a good breakfast and cognitive growth. SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded sixty years ago SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.
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