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Rise and Shine: More Children Eating School Breakfast

PHOTO: Nationally, more than 11 million low-income kids received free or reduced-price school breakfast in the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 from the previous school year. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
PHOTO: Nationally, more than 11 million low-income kids received free or reduced-price school breakfast in the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 from the previous school year. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
February 18, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - More kids across the nation are starting the day with a healthy meal. The latest study shows another increase in the number of low-income children taking part in school breakfast programs.

The report from the Food Research and Action Center shows that participation increased by about 320,000 students last school year.

In North Dakota, "they're feeding about 14,000 students free and reduced-price school breakfast," said Crystal Fitzsimons, FRAC's director of school and out-of-school-time programs. "They're serving about 46 low-income students breakfast for every 100 that they serve lunch."

Nationally, an average of 11.2 million low-income kids ate breakfast at school each day last year, and research shows that a healthy meal to start the day is one key to improved academics.

FitzSimons said many factors are driving the upward trend in school-breakfast participation, including states and districts looking at more innovative and accommodating ways to offer morning meals, such as breakfast-in-the-classroom programs.

"Kids are eating breakfast in the morning in the classroom together," she said. "They're doing grab-and-go programs, where kids kind of grab a breakfast on their way into school and take it to the class with them - really taking a look at creative ways to make sure that the breakfast program is available to kids who want to participate."

State-specific information is online at frac.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND