New Analysis Shows Potential Impact of School Breakfast on Academic Achievement, Economic Prosperity; Interactive Map Shows Possible Benefits on State, Local Levels
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First Lady Ginger Beebe today joined national child anti-hunger group Share Our Strength, Arkansas State Senator Bobby Pierce, members of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign and other education leaders to discuss how connecting more kids to the School Breakfast Program through innovative new legislation can potentially impact academic achievement.
"Students who start their school day with breakfast, have proven to perform better in school and in testing, have better attendance and a better chance at graduating," said First Lady Ginger Beebe. "This leads to a stronger workforce and a more competitive state."
According to new analysis released at the event, "Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis" ensuring low-income children have access to a healthy school breakfast has the potential to dramatically impact their academic, health and economic futures. The study was developed in collaboration with Deloitte and analyzed third party studies and publicly available data.
Analysis of Arkansas data showed that if 70% of elementary and middle school kids eating a free or reduced-price lunch were also getting school breakfast in Arkansas, this has the potential impact of 38,789 fewer school absences per year, 25,859 students scoring higher on standardized math tests per year, and 6,465 more high school graduates.
Arkansas State Senator Bobby Pierce earlier this month introduced a bill to provide appropriations to the Arkansas Department of Education of up to $1 million to provide grants for public school nutritional programs. The intent of this legislation is to allow schools to apply for grants to support universal, alternative breakfast programs. The additional funding for schools would allow more students to start their days with a nutritious breakfast, ensuring they come to class ready to learn.
Nationally, students on average who eat school breakfast have been shown to achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. Research also shows students who attend class more regularly are 20% more likely to graduate from high school, and high school graduates typically earn $10,090 more a year while enjoying a 4% higher employment rate.
"This report demonstrates that simply providing a healthy breakfast to children in need goes a long way in ensuring our economic prosperity," says national No Kid Hungry campaign director Jen Jinks. "The potential for students who eat breakfast to experience greater academic achievement and increased job readiness ultimately means a healthier and stronger economy."
The traditional school breakfast – breakfast served to low-income students in the cafeteria before school begins – has not been widely effective in connecting more kids to school breakfast due to stigma and tough schedules. In Arkansas, only 55 percent of kids who are got a getting a free or reduced-priced school lunch in the 2011-2012 school years also ate school breakfast. Innovative ways of serving breakfast, moving it from the cafeteria to the classroom, help close that gap and ensure more low-income students are able to start the day with a healthy meal.
"As an educator, I've seen the difference school breakfast and healthy food skills make in a child's life," said Little Rock Education Association President Cathy Koehler. "Knowing they can start the day with the fuel they need to learn gives students a leg-up every day."
The Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign, a partnership between Share Our Strength, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the office of Governor Mike Beebe, works to increase school breakfast program participation, works to increase school breakfast program participation by working with teachers, principals, school food service directors, parents and students to implement innovative ways to serve breakfasts such as offering Breakfast in the Classroom or Grab n' Go options that make breakfast a part of every student's morning schedule. This work helped serve school breakfast to approximately 4,400 additional children last year.
"We all have a role to play in making sure that students have the nourishment they need to focus in class and do well academically," said Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign Manager Patty Barker. "We can't have a strong Arkansas, or a strong nation, without strong kids. This means we need to make No Kid Hungry a reality."
Read the Deloitte white paper, "Ending Childhood Hunger: A Social Impact Analysis," in its entirety at NoKidHungry.org/Breakfast.
About Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through its Cooking Matters program. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. The No Kid Hungry campaign's work to increase school breakfast participation is generously supported by national sponsor Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship Fund. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.
About the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign
The Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign, launched in 2010, is a partnership between the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Share Our Strength, and the office of Governor Mike Beebe that is working to end childhood hunger in Arkansas. Together, these leaders along with many stakeholders are connecting kids to nutritious food where they live, learn and play through increasing participation in federally-funded food and nutrition programs including school breakfast and summer meals. Go to NoKidHungry.org/Arkansas to learn more.
Contact: Nancy Conley | firstname.lastname@example.org | (501) 399-9999
SOURCE Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign