Nutrition: six children holding fruit Resources for Schools

Healthy school meals for Minnesota kids

Schools throughout Minnesota are doing outstanding work to improve nutrition and teach children good habits that last a lifetime. We all know the stakes are high: children need more than a full stomach if they are to learn and achieve.


Why good nutrition is important for education

The link between poor nutrition and the ability of children to retain information and perform well on tests is well documented. Without proper nutrition and physical fitness, children do not learn and achieve:

  • Iron deficiency anemia leads to shortened attention spans, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty with concentration. Anemic children tend to do poorly on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and math tests. (National Education Association, 1989)
  • Breakfast has a beneficial effect on children’s recall in short term memory.(Journal of Adolescence Health, 1991)
  • Food-insufficient teenagers are more likely to get suspended from school and more likely to have difficulty interacting with peers. (Pediatrics July 2001)
  • Even moderate under-nutrition in the absence of clinical signs can have lasting effects that compromise cognitive development and school achievement. (Tufts University School of Medicine 1995)
  • Free school breakfast decreases nutritional risk and improves math grades and behavior. (Annals of Nutrition Metabolism, 2002)
  • Six to 11 year olds from food-insufficient families are more likely to have to repeat a grade. (Pediatrics, 2001)
  • Skipping breakfast has a negative effect on cognitive performance on healthy well-nourished children. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1991)
  • Teachers report higher levels of hyperactivity, absenteeism, and tardiness among children from food-insecure homes than children from well-fed homes. (Journal of American Academic Child Adolescence Psychiatry, 1998)

Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 02:56PM