Two thirds of Connecticut teens said they had not eaten breakfast in any of the past seven days, according to the 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Survey.
Breakfast is served in 117 school districts in the state, however, most of the students do not eat the optional breakfast, said James Crawford, the school breakfast navigator for End Hunger CT.
And that fact concerns him.
“Hungry students cannot focus, remember or retain on the same level with their peers who have had a nutritionally balanced morning meal,” Crawford said.
End Hunger CT advocates for and educates schools about the expansion of breakfast programs.
Crawford gathered results on students who maintained a healthy breakfast throughout a week and found that they scored 17 percent higher on standardized math tests, missed less school and had fewer visits to the school nurse.
Principal Christopher Bostock of Amistad High School in New Haven started the breakfast program when the school was founded in 2006.
“Many of our students do not have access to a healthy breakfast at home. The overwhelming majority of students do take breakfast every morning, and we do encourage them to take breakfast if they appear that they’re not going to,” Bostock said.
Crawford said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
“Teachers also report fewer behavioral issues, markedly improved focus and vastly improved retention of academic skills,” he said. “The morning hours of instruction are the most critical of the learning day.”
Christopher Maynard is a student at Achievement First Amistad High School, New Haven.