A new study claims that free breakfasts can make students from low-income families perform better, leading to good grades.
The research conducted at University of Iowa found that students who participated in the US Department of Agriculture's School Breakfast Program (SBP) had higher achievement scores in maths, science, and reading as compared to students who did not participate.
David Frisvold, assistant professor of economics in the Tippie College of Business, said that the results indicated that students yield important gains in achievement when exposed to nutritious breakfast through the subsidized breakfast program.
He found the schools that offered free breakfasts showed significantly better academic performance than schools that did not, and that the impact was cumulative so that the longer the school participated in the SBP, the higher their achievement. Math scores were about 25% higher at participating schools during a students' elementary school tenure than would be expected otherwise.
The study suggested subsidized breakfast programs as an effective tool for better performance by students from low-income families.
The paper is published online and is due to appear in Public Economics