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Effects of a free school breakfast programme on children's attendance, academic achievement and short-term hunger: results from a stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial

Ni Mhurchu, Cliona, Gorton, Delvina, Turley, Maria, Jiang, Yannan, Michie, Jo, Maddison, Ralph and Hattie, John 2013, Effects of a free school breakfast programme on children's attendance, academic achievement and short-term hunger: results from a stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial, Journal of epidemiology & community health, vol. 67, no. 3, pp. 257-264, doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201540.

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Title Effects of a free school breakfast programme on children's attendance, academic achievement and short-term hunger: results from a stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial
Author(s) Ni Mhurchu, Cliona
Gorton, Delvina
Turley, Maria
Jiang, Yannan
Michie, Jo
Maddison, RalphORCID iD for Maddison, Ralph orcid.org/0000-0001-8564-5518
Hattie, John
Journal name Journal of epidemiology & community health
Volume number 67
Issue number 3
Start page 257
End page 264
Total pages 8
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2013-03
ISSN 1470-2738
Keyword(s) Absenteeism
Achievement
Adolescent
Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Child
Cluster Analysis
Female
Food Services
Food Supply
Government Programs
Humans
Hunger
Interpersonal Relations
Male
New Zealand
Program Evaluation
Public Assistance
Schools
Self Report
Socioeconomic Factors
Students
Summary BACKGROUND: Free school breakfast programmes (SBPs) exist in a number of high-income countries, but their effects on educational outcomes have rarely been evaluated in randomised controlled trials.

METHODS: A 1-year stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial was undertaken in 14 New Zealand schools in low socioeconomic resource areas. Participants were 424 children, mean age 9±2 years, 53% female. The intervention was a free daily SBP. The primary outcome was children's school attendance. Secondary outcomes were academic achievement, self-reported grades, sense of belonging at school, behaviour, short-term hunger, breakfast habits and food security.

RESULTS: There was no statistically significant effect of the breakfast programme on children's school attendance. The odds of children achieving an attendance rate <95% was 0.76 (95% CI 0.56 to 1.02) during the intervention phase and 0.93 (95% CI 0.67 to 1.31) during the control phase, giving an OR of 0.81 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.11), p=0.19. There was a significant decrease in children's self-reported short-term hunger during the intervention phase compared with the control phase, demonstrated by an increase of 8.6 units on the Freddy satiety scale (95% CI 3.4 to 13.7, p=0.001). There were no effects of the intervention on any other outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: A free SBP did not have a significant effect on children's school attendance or academic achievement but had significant positive effects on children's short-term satiety ratings. More frequent programme attendance may be required to influence school attendance and academic achievement.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/jech-2012-201540
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
1117 Public Health And Health Services
1604 Human Geography
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081650

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.