Breakfast in the Classroom Initiative Does Not Improve Attendance or Standardized Test Scores among Urban Students: A Cluster Randomized Trial.

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Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report
Length: 567 words

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Key words Breakfast in the Classroom; School Breakfast Program; academic outcomes; urban youth Abstract Background The Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) initiative, a common approach to implementing the federal School Breakfast Program, is advocated as a method to improve students' academic performance. However, the influences of BIC on academic outcomes are unclear. Objective To examine the effect of a BIC initiative which provided free, universal BIC on attendance and standardized test performance over 2.5 years, vs free universal breakfast served in the cafeteria before school, among students in an urban school district serving a low-income population. Design Secondary analysis of data from a cluster randomized controlled trial conducted between 2013 and 2016; 16 kindergarten through eighth-grade public schools in Philadelphia, PA, were enrolled and randomized to condition. Baseline data for 1,362 fourth- through sixth-grade students were provided by the school district. Midpoint data were collected after 1.5 years and endpoint data after 2.5 years. Participants/setting Schools were eligible in the case that [greater than or equal to]50% of students qualified for free or reduced-priced meals, did not offer BIC, and received programming as part of the US Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Parents consented for their children to participate. Intervention Intervention schools provided BIC and breakfast-related nutrition-promotion activities. Control schools provided breakfast in the cafeteria before the school day. Main outcome measures Student attendance and standardized exam scores. Statistical analyses performed Weighted generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate differences in outcomes between conditions at midpoint and endpoint. Results The BIC initiative did not influence attendance ([beta] [plus or minus] standard error = .004 [plus or minus] .06; P = 0.94) or standardized reading exam scores ([beta] [plus or minus] standard error = .02 [plus or minus] .06; P = 0.79) after 2.5 years. Students in BIC initiative schools had lower standardized math exam scores than those in control schools, although this difference was small ([beta] [plus or minus] standard error = --.20 [plus or minus] .07; P = 0.005). Conclusions BIC did not improve academic outcomes among students attending low-income, urban schools. Author Affiliation: (1) Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2) WW International, New York, New York (3) Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (5) Center for Obesity Research and Education, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6) Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, College of Health Sciences and University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware (7) The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania * Address correspondence to: Katherine W. Bauer, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029. Article History: Received 8 July 2021; Accepted 13 December 2021 (footnote) Supplementary materials: and are available at (footnote) STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST G. D. Foster is an employee and shareholder of WW International (formerly known as Weight Watchers International). (footnote) FUNDING/SUPPORT This research was supported by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture (AFRI 2012-68001-19616). Byline: Danny Luan, MPH (1), Gary D. Foster, PhD (2,3), Jennifer O. Fisher, PhD (4), Heidi M. Weeks, PhD (1), Heather M. Polonsky, MS (5), Adam Davey, PhD (6), Sandy Sherman, EdD (7), Michelle L. Abel, MSPH (7), Katherine W. Bauer, PhD [] (1,*)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A704126108