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Report: More Low-Income MO Kids Start School With Breakfast

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PHOTO: Numerous studies have shown the importance of a healthy breakfast for growing minds and bodies, and thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, more low-income Missouri kids are starting the day ready to learn. Photo credit: M. Shand
PHOTO: Numerous studies have shown the importance of a healthy breakfast for growing minds and bodies, and thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, more low-income Missouri kids are starting the day ready to learn. Photo credit: M. Shand
 By Mona ShandContact
January 23, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More low-income children in Missouri are starting the school day ready to learn, according to a new report that highlights the progress being made with the federal School Breakfast Program.

The Food Research and Action Center's annual scorecard finds that nearly 56 percent of the children in Missouri who received free and reduced-price school lunches also received breakfast last year, an increase of almost 2 percent from the previous year.

Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare, says this is good progress toward healthier students, but there's still a long way to go.

"There's money on the table that we could be using here to benefit Missouri kids if we could get our numbers up to 70 percent,” she says. “It would mean more than $13 million more in federal funding for our nutrition programs. "

Nationwide, nearly 11 million low-income children participated in the federally funded school breakfast program on an average day during the 2012-2013 school year.

The full report is available on the Food Research and Action Center's website.

Mott Oxford says she credits Missouri's increase in participation to the fact that many schools have implemented innovative options, such as Grab and Go meals or serving breakfast in the classroom.

"A lot of children have to travel a long distance by bus to get to where their school is and that can provide some scheduling challenges,” she points out. “So in-classroom participation in school breakfasts can be a really good option. "

The School Breakfast Program, along with other child nutrition programs, will be up for congressional review and reauthorization in 2015.


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