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Idaho Graded in ‘School Breakfast Report Card’

GRAPHIC: The School Breakfast Scorecard from the Food Research and Action Center shows that more breakfasts are being served to love-income students in Idaho, ranking the state 17th best in the nation. Graphic courtesy of FRAC.
GRAPHIC: The School Breakfast Scorecard from the Food Research and Action Center shows that more breakfasts are being served to love-income students in Idaho, ranking the state 17th best in the nation. Graphic courtesy of FRAC.
February 11, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - Idaho is maintaining its grades when it comes to serving a nutritious breakfast to low-income students.

According to the School Breakfast Scorecard from the Food Research and Action Center, more breakfasts are being served, ranking Idaho 17th best; the state was 16th last year.

Registered dietitian Kelsey Ruszel at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho described the benefits of school breakfast.

"Studies show that kids who eat breakfast have better performance in school and on the playground, better school attendance rates, better concentration and fewer visits to the school nurse for stomach pains," Ruszel said.

The scorecard examined how many students receiving free or reduced-price lunches also were being served breakfast. Fifty-six percent of Idaho students receiving the lunches also participate in breakfast, an improvement over last year. The goal is to bump that to 70 percent.

Because families lack resources or just have schedules that are too busy, Ruszel said, breakfast is too often skipped - which is why school is a natural fit to make sure students receive the nutrition they need.

"That's the great thing also about school breakfast is that they have all of those different food groups for you each morning," she said, "always offering a milk, a fruit, protein and some whole grains."

Nationally, there's been progress, too. And according to FRAC, the Boise School District ranks in the top 10 nationally among large districts for serving breakfast to 82 percent of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches.

The School Breakfast Scorecard is online at frac.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID