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New National Report, Florida Initiative Puts Focus on School Breakfast

Orlando, Fla. (PRWEB) March 18, 2013

The move is on to help young people boost their nutrition and overall health and wellness, especially on the heels of a new report that reveals teens aren't regularly eating the most important meal of the day – breakfast – and aren't as active as they should be on a daily basis.

March is National Nutrition Month, and several initiatives have been announced nationally and statewide to help boost children’s health and wellness.

A new report called, The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments(1), reinforces the “learning connection” — the crucial link between quality nutrition, physical activity and academic performance. Finding a balance between academic rigor and health and wellness efforts in the school environment has become an increasing priority. The report was released by the GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council (NDC), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American School Health Association (ASHA). Key findings from the report suggest:

  • More than half (62%) of all teens say they do not eat breakfast every day of the week.(2)
  • Breakfast eaters have better attention and memory than breakfast skippers.(3)
  • Three-in-four high school students aren't active for the recommended 60 minutes each day.(2)
  • Students who were more active during school performed better on standardized tests for reading, math and spelling.(4)
  • Studies show that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores and improve their cognitive speed and memory. Research also links eating breakfast at school to improvements in student behavior, fewer absences, and limited class disruptions.
  • Studies show that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores and improve their cognitive speed and memory. Research also links eating breakfast at school to improvements in student behavior, fewer absences, and limited class disruptions.

Studies show that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores and improve their cognitive speed and memory. Research also links eating breakfast at school to improvements in student behavior, fewer absences, and limited class disruptions.

While many schools lack the funds to execute school wellness policies or to start breakfast programs, progress was made in Florida earlier this month when Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced a partnership with the Dairy Council of Florida to support Florida schools in implementing innovative methods to promote breakfast.

“Research indicates that we can improve learning, cognitive development, test scores and behavior by ensuring more students eat a balanced breakfast,” said Commissioner Putnam. “So we’re doing just that. Thanks to the generous support of the Dairy Council of Florida, we’re working with schools to expand breakfast programs and increase student participation.”

The Dairy Council of Florida committed $300,000 to aid six Florida school districts in increasing breakfast participation using innovative methods like providing grab-n-go options at the bus drop-off area, allowing breakfast carts to distribute meals in the hallway and serving breakfast in the classroom.

The Dairy Council of Florida is also part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 school wellness program – a joint program of the National Dairy Council and National Football League and in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program encourages students to take charge in making small, everyday changes toward a healthy lifestyle at school. In partnership with GENYOUth Foundation, Fuel Up to Play 60 has provided schools with more than $10 million in funds to help develop healthy in-school initiatives ranging from breakfast programs to walking clubs.

“Children spend the majority of their daytime hours at school, so it’s important that we work to boost their nutrition during that time,” said Dairy Council of Florida Registered Dietitian Alyssa Greenstein. “Our programs and partnerships are not only meeting the wellness needs of children throughout Florida, we’re working to improve their minds and bodies, which ultimately creates healthier and smarter communities.”

For healthy recipes and tips on how to boost your child’s nutrition visit

To read The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Success Through Healthy School Environments, along with tips for parents and children, visit

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About Dairy Council of Florida
The Dairy Council of Florida works with schools, health professionals, social service agencies and others to educate Floridians on the health benefits of milk and other nutrient-rich dairy foods. Dairy Council of Florida programs are funded by Florida Dairy Farmers, which represents more than 130 dairy farming families throughout the state. For more information, call 800-516-4443 or visit


(1) American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council, The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Through Healthy School Environment, March 2013.
(2) Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, et al. 2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States 2011, Surveillance Summary No. 61(SS04);1-162. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at Accessed on January 31, 2013.
(3) Wesnes KA, Pincock C, Richardson D, et al. Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in school children. Appetite. 2003;41:329-331.
(4) Donnelly JE, Greene JL, Gibson CA, et al. Physical Activity Across the Curriculum (PAAC): A randomized controlled trial to promote physical activity and diminish overweight and obesity in elementary school children. Preventive Medicine. 2009;49(4):336–341.

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