Students who eat a second breakfast at school following breakfast at home are less likely to be overweight than their peers who skip breakfast altogether, suggests a new study out of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
The three-year study—which tracked 584 students in 12 middle schools that provide free breakfast and lunch to all students—concluded that students who skipped or ate breakfast inconsistently were more than twice as likely to be overweight compared with students who ate double breakfasts.
The study results counter the argument that a second breakfast at school could lead to unhealthy weight gain in students. It also reveals that the prevalence of double-breakfast eaters is lower than what prior studies have found, ranging from eight to 10 percent, according to a release.
“Our study does not support those concerns,” Jeannette Ickovics, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “Providing a healthy breakfast to students at schools helps alleviate food insecurity and is associated with students maintaining a healthy weight.”
Sara Gasiorowski, child nutrition director at Indiana-based Metropolitan School District—which serves free breakfast in the classroom throughout its district—thinks the findings are significant and warrant further studies in this area.
“Students who may be eating twice might only have a bowl of cereal at home, and then a more complete breakfast at school,” she told FSD via email. “It would be interesting to find out what the students were eating at home versus at school. Breakfast is such an important part of the school day, and this is a program that needs to continue to be promoted at all grade levels.”