Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9–11-year-old children

Littlecott, H. J., Moore, G. F., Moore, L. , Lyons, R. A. and Murphy, S. (2016) Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9–11-year-old children. Public Health Nutrition, 19(9), pp. 1575-1582. (doi:10.1017/S1368980015002669) (PMID:26411331) (PMCID:PMC4873891)

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Abstract

Objective Breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with health outcomes and cognitive functioning in schoolchildren. Evidence of direct links with educational outcomes remains equivocal. We aimed to examine the link between breakfast consumption in 9–11-year-old children and educational outcomes obtained 6–18 months later. Design Data on individual-level free school meal entitlement and educational outcomes (Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) at Key Stage 2) were obtained via the SAIL databank and linked to earlier data collected on breakfast consumption. Multilevel modelling assessed associations between breakfast consumption and SATs. Setting Trial of the Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative in Wales. Subjects Year 5 and 6 students, n 3093 (baseline) and n 3055 (follow-up). Results Significant associations were found between all dietary behaviours and better performance in SATs, adjusted for gender and individual- and school-level free school meal entitlement (OR=1·95; CI 1·58, 2·40 for breakfast, OR=1·08; CI 1·04, 1·13 for healthy breakfast items). No association was observed between number of unhealthy breakfast items consumed and educational performance. Association of breakfast consumption with educational performance was stronger where the measure of breakfast consumption was more proximal to SATs tests (OR=2·02 measured 6 months prior to SATs, OR=1·61 measured 18 months prior). Conclusions Significant positive associations between self-reported breakfast consumption and educational outcomes were observed. Future research should aim to explore the mechanisms by which breakfast consumption and educational outcomes are linked, and understand how to promote breakfast consumption among schoolchildren. Communicating findings of educational benefits to schools may help to enhance buy-in to efforts to improve health behaviours of pupils.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moore, Professor Laurence
Authors: Littlecott, H. J., Moore, G. F., Moore, L., Lyons, R. A., and Murphy, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Public Health Nutrition
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1368-9800
ISSN (Online):1475-2727
Published Online:28 September 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Public Health Nutrition 19(9): 1575-1582
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU