Published: June 2023

Journal: Nutrients

Authors: Olarte DA, Tsai MM, Chapman L, Hager ER, Cohen JFW

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The United States (US) School Breakfast Program provides Breakfast After The Bell (BATB) to alleviate hunger, provide nutrition, and ensure students have a healthy start to the day. This study aims to review the evidence regarding the impact of BATB on students’ diet and academic outcomes, including participation, diet quality and consumption, body mass index (BMI) and weight status, attendance, classroom behavior, and academic performance. The articles were extracted from three electronic databases and published since the start of the literature through December 2022. Studies were peer-reviewed; quantitative research articles or government reports; and conducted in public or private elementary, middle, and high schools. Quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Thirty-seven studies were included in this review. This review found BATB increased school breakfast participation, improved diet quality, and improved classroom behavior particularly among students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds and students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The impact of BATB on BMI and weight status, academic achievement and attendance was mixed. This review is particularly timely given free school meals and updated school nutrition standards are being prioritized over the next decade in the US. Thus, it is important to evaluate the nutritional and educational outcomes of BATB.

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