Breakfast in schools: it just doesn’t work

NBR 18 May 2013
A few months ago, Social Service Providers Aotearoa asked me to review the literature on school breakfast programmes and provide an assessment of whether public funding of school breakfast programmes offered value for money.

I spoke on the issue in Wellington and in Christchurch in February. As the government seems to be looking at the Mana Party’s proposals around food in schools (a package will be announced in a fortnight), it’s worth posting a summary of the review here.

I was only looking at school breakfast programmes, and so I can’t here comment on school lunch programmes. I’m not sure why we’d expect results to vary greatly, but it’s worth having the caveat.

On my best read of the literature, it’s hard to make a case for that we’d get any great benefit from the programmes.

Rather, we often find that they don’t even increase the odds that kids eat breakfast at all.

Many shift breakfast from at-home to at-school.