An average of 11.2 million low-income children ate school breakfasts daily during the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 children from the previous year, a report released Tuesday says. Also that year, a higher percentage of low-income children who participated in school lunch programs also ate school breakfasts than in the previous year, says the School Breakfast Scorecard by the Food Research and Action Center.
FRAC says it calculated its figures “by comparing the number of low-income children receiving school breakfast to the number of such children receiving school lunch. By this measure, nationally 53 low-income children ate school breakfast for every 100 who also ate school lunch, an increase from the previous school year’s ratio of 52:100, and far above the 43:100 ratio of a decade earlier,” the report says.
“Progress is being made, but still nearly half of low-income students in the U.S. are missing out on school breakfast and its well-established benefits for health and education,” FRAC said in a release. “Research demonstrates the profound impact school breakfast has on improving nutrition and ensuring children start the day ready to learn.”
Children’s nutrition advocates attribute increased school breakfast participation to strategies like breakfast in the classroom programs and the community eligibility option, which allows some schools to serve free meals to all students rather than requiring them to qualify individually.
The report includes an analysis of state participation rates.
FRAC also released a second report that explores rates of school breakfast participation and successful strategies in large school districts.
Images from School Breakfast Scorecard by the Food Research and Action Center.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.