Objective: To determine whether nutrient intake and academic and psychosocial functioning improve after the start of a universal-free school breakfast program (USBP). Methods: Information was gathered from 97 inner city students prior to the start of a USBP and again after the program had been in place for 6 months. Students who had total energy intakes of <50% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) and/or 2 or more micronutrients of <50% of RDA were considered to be at nutritional risk. Results: Prior to the USBP, 33% of all study children were classified as being at nutritional risk. Children who were at nutritional risk had significantly poorer attendance, punctuality, and grades at school, more behavior problems, and were less likely to eat breakfast at school than children who were not at nutritional risk. Six months after the start of the free school breakfast programs, students who decreased their nutritional risk showed significantly greater: improvements in attendance and school breakfast participation, decreases in hunger, and improvements in math grades and behavior than children who did not decrease their nutritional risk. Conclusion: Participation in a school breakfast program enhanced daily nutrient intake and improvements in nutrient intake were associated with significant improvements in student academic performance and psychosocial functioning and decreases in hunger.

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