Kids breakfast skip a concern
STUDENTS skipping breakfast not only affects school performance but has a link to their psychological wellbeing.
Foodbank Australia’s Hunger in the Classroom report surveyed teachers from across Australia and found three students per classroom were regularly arriving to school hungry in the morning.
According to Foodbank, the picture that emerged from the survey was concerning, as teachers believed a significant number of children were affected by the issue of hunger, which has wide-ranging and potentially long-term ramifications.
Most of the teachers reported it was a habitual problem and that the children who went to school hungry did so three times a week or more.
The teachers surveyed indicated that more than half of the students who missed breakfast experienced learning difficulties or exhibited behavioural problems.
Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble said they had a school breakfast program which supports more than 400 schools in WA.
“It’s easy to judge their parents, but we know from our broader food relief work that thousands of WA families have been doing it tough for a long time now and at the moment it’s getting worse,” he said.
Dale Health principal psychologist Ali Dale said there were a number of consequences of missing breakfast.
“This includes a decline in school performance, memory and ability to stay on task in the classroom,” she said.
“This can set up a longer-term consequence of lowered school achievement, and getting into trouble (with) teachers.”
Dr Dale said research also suggested that food made people feel good.
“Good-quality food can cause the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, which directly impacts psychological wellbeing,” she said.
“As a longer-term consequence, we also know that children who skip breakfast have a less healthy relationship with food, and are more likely to experience a range of health issues, such as obesity, as they get older. Many of these health problems directly affect psychological wellbeing, as well as physical wellbeing.”
Kellogg’s is partnered with Foodbank to deliver its breakfast program.
Senior brand manager Janine Brooker said relieving hunger at breakfast for children and families in need was an issue close to her heart as a mother.
“Our relationship with Foodbank has seen millions of serves of cereal donated, and contribution towards the opening of 33 new Foodbank School Breakfast Program clubs nationally this year,” she said.
Children tucking into some breakfast before lessons at school.