To kickoff National Nutrition Month, USDA is again celebrating National School Breakfast Week (March 3 – 7) to support the health and well-being of our nation’s children. National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to highlight the essential role nutrition plays in sustaining healthier lives. A well-balanced breakfast serves as an important first step to a healthier life—and a healthier next generation!
The case for breakfast is a strong one. Research reveals that students who consume breakfast make greater strides on standardized tests, pay attention and behave better in class, and are less frequently tardy, absent or visiting the nurse’s office. Eating breakfast is also positively linked with maintaining a healthy weight – and avoiding health problems associated with obesity. Given the current rates of childhood obesity and related health problems, it’s vital for children and families to eat healthier meals and snacks throughout the day.
Studies also show that children who skip breakfast are at an academic disadvantage: They have slower memory recall, make more errors and are more likely to repeat a grade.
Not all children are able to eat at home. Whether they come from a family with a tight budget, are too busy with the morning rush, or simply have a poor appetite when they wake up, not all children get the energy and nutrients they need for a healthy start to the school day before they leave home.
USDA’s School Breakfast Program provides millions of American children the opportunity to fuel their day. To create broader awareness of the many benefits of breakfast, USDA offers a variety of resources for schools, parents, and children. For individuals who have an interest in increasing access to the School Breakfast Program, determining the type of meal service most suited to their needs and/or developing a marketing plan that will capture and keep all of their customers, USDA has created a School Breakfast toolkit. We also encourage our future Olympians to view and share these public service announcements from Dominique Dawes and Allyson Felix, explaining why “School Breakfast is for Everyone,” and it’s important to “Energize Your Day with School Breakfast!”
During School Breakfast Week, on March 6, USDA will also be recognizing the second annual International School Meals Day, where schools around the world can promote healthy eating and learning, using the theme “Food Stories.” Stories, like food, communicate the culture of people and their dreams for a healthier and better future, bringing communities together. To celebrate the day, schools may connect with other classrooms around the world via Skype to share their own food stories, plan an International Menu Day, or host food tasting sessions.
Let us know how you choose to celebrate throughout the week and month!