A new study from the University of Iowa reinforces the connection between good nutrition and good grades, finding that free school breakfasts help students from low-income families perform better academically.
The study finds students who attend schools that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) have higher achievement scores in math, science, and reading than students in schools that don’t participate.
“These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the subsidized breakfast program throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement,” says researcher David Frisvold, assistant professor of economics in the Tippie College of Business.
The federal government started the SBP for children from low-income families in 1966. The program is administered in coordination with state governments, many of which require local school districts to offer subsidized breakfasts if a certain percentage of their overall enrollment comes from families that meet income eligibility guidelines.