School Breakfast Programs With Implementation of Farm to School Have No Influence on Body Weight Among 3rd and 4th Grade Students

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 2017


To examine the association between frequency of breakfast consumption and body mass index (BMI) among elementary students participating in a traditional School Breakfast Program (SBP) in a school district that is implementing a Farm to School (F2S) program compared to those participating in a traditional SBP without F2S.

This cross-sectional study matched ten schools with a traditional SBP, five with F2S (A) and five without F2S (B). Third- and fourth-grade students (n=1031) were recruited for study participation. Demographic information, frequency of breakfast participation, and anthropometric data were collected. BMI and frequency of breakfast consumption over a ten-day period, excluding non-school days, were stratified by frequent eaters (7-10), occasional eaters (3-6), and skippers (0-2).

No significant difference in BMI-for-age between F2S (A) and traditional SBP (B) was observed. There was also no significant correlation between BMI or BMI-for-age and breakfast participation observed. This data suggests that there is no relationship between F2S participation and BMI-for-age and no correlation between breakfast consumption and BMI-for-age among third- and fourth-grade students. Hispanic and Latino students were more likely to qualify for free and reduced lunch (p<0.001). Free and reduced school meals students were more likely to be overweight or obese than students that qualify for paid school meals (p<0.001). In both districts, students that were offered breakfast in the classroom were 30% more likely to participate than
students offered breakfast in the cafeteria.

Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals
Based on this limited study, a F2S program alone is unlikely to be an effective strategy to prevent/reduce childhood overweight and obesity unless fully implemented. Future strategies should focus on lower socio-economic status students and minority groups due to their increased rates and predisposition of overweight and obesity. Offering breakfast in the classroom may be a positive method of increasing breakfast participation in all types of school breakfast programs.


This article was originally published in The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management