Breakfast Breakdown: Examining Systematic Differences in Compliance with Nutrient Guidelines in the School Breakfast Program
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In policy circles and academic publications, discussions of the School Breakfast Program focus on encouraging participation and expansion. The hope is that breakfast provision will improve the diets of low-income children and bolster students’ academic achievement. Yet policymakers have done little analysis of the program’s implementation. What research there is indicates that the majority of schools do not serve breakfasts that meet federal nutrition requirements. Before a nation-wide effort to increase School Breakfast Program participation is undertaken, factors that indicate successful (or unsuccessful) program implementation must be identified. This study uses data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-III to explore relationships between select school characteristics and the nutritional value of the school’s subsidized breakfasts. Key variables include age of the student population, the racial/ethnic composition of the school, district poverty levels, urbanicity, program participation, and the availability of competitive foods. Significant relationships between levels of nutrients provided and age of the student population, racial/ethnic composition of the population, income, urbanicity, and participation rates suggest that systematic differences exist in School Breakfast Program implementation. These disparities have important implications for the future of school nutrition policy.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
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