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'got breakfast?'(TM) Foundation Issues Statement on Recently Released Florida State Plan of Action from the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness
Date:12/21/2007

Foundation Recommends Enacting Universal School Breakfast to Enable More

Children to Access Morning Meals

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tami Cline, Executive Director of the "got breakfast?" Foundation issued the following statement today following the recent release of the Florida Governor's Council on Physical Fitness State Plan of Action:

"Expanding the availability of breakfast programs throughout the state to include children from elementary through high school is a good first step towards feeding Florida's children, but is not sufficient to increase breakfast participation. In schools where 70 percent or more of the student population is eligible for free or reduced priced lunch, it's possible to feed daily breakfast to all students using federal dollars by enacting a Universal Breakfast Program.

"Numerous studies indicate that children who eat breakfast increase their academic performance, have fewer behavioral issues, and have lower rates of obesity. The 'got breakfast?' Foundation applauds the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness for taking the first step towards feeding Florida's children, but calls on the state to utilize Universal Breakfast so that all children can receive the numerous benefits of morning meals."

The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness in Florida was established by Executive Order on March 26, 2007. The Council has developed a state plan of action to increase Floridians' level of physical fitness through regular exercise and sound nutrition practices. The plan was released with the provision that the state expand the school breakfast program to include all children in elementary through high school.

Universal School Breakfast refers to a school program that offers breakfast at no charge to all students, regardless of income. Universal School Breakfast addresses the fact that many families cannot afford to provide good breakfasts at home everyday nor the money to allow their children to buy them at school. Studies show that Universal School Breakfast programs increase student participation in school breakfast and help reduce the stigma that children feel about being identified as low-income because they receive free meals.

"got breakfast?" is a 501 (c)(3) foundation that was launched in 2005 to help the millions of students who qualify for a free or reduced-price breakfast through the School Breakfast Program access the meals they are not receiving. The connection between childhood hunger and poor educational performance is well documented and established. Studies demonstrate that starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps children concentrate, solve problems, be creative and learn.

Out of 55 million children who attend school in the United States, 22 million are eligible for free or reduced price meals, which include school breakfast and school lunch. Of these 22 million eligible kids, only 7.7 million utilize the school breakfast program. That means approximately 14.5 million students who are able to receive free or reduced priced breakfast meals in the morning are not getting them. A majority of the children not accessing breakfast are low-income students who are the most susceptible to childhood obesity.

When students fail to access school breakfast, school districts are also missing out on funds allotted to them by the Federal government. The School Breakfast Program provides Federal reimbursement to schools for each meal served; when schools increase the number of students eating breakfast, they see an increase in funds. According to the Food Research and Action Center, more than $500 million in federal funding available to provide school breakfast to children in need is not being accessed.

For information on how the School Breakfast Program, Universal School Breakfast or tips on how to increase student participation in breakfast please go to http://www.gotbreakfast.org.

"got breakfast?" Foundation

"got breakfast?" works to ensure that every child, regardless of background, starts the school day with a nutritious breakfast in order to learn, grow, and develop to their fullest potential. The foundation aims to increase access to breakfast programs to help fight obesity, raise test scores, and improve overall health.


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SOURCE "got breakfast?" Foundation
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