NJ On the Rise In Student Breakfast Participation

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NJ On the Rise In Student Breakfast Participation

New Jersey achieved the greatest rise in the nation in the percent of low-income students eating breakfast at school, according to a new national report released earlier this week.

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) found that New Jersey’s participation rate jumped nearly 13 percent from the 2012-13 to the 2013-14 school years. The state now ranks 28th in the nation for breakfast participation – up from 37th last year and 46th a few years ago. The average national increase was about 3 percent.

The rise was credited, in part, by state-wide implementation of ‘breakfast after the bell’ programs which allow breakfast to be served during the first few minutes of the school day.  This approach significantly increases student participation in this federally-funded child nutrition program.

The NJ Food for Thought Campaign, of which NJPSA is part, was launched in 2011.  The campaign is focused on encouraging schools to change the way they serve breakfast. The campaign is a partnership among New Jersey anti-hunger, education and health organizations, state agencies and child advocates. The Food Research Action Center, the American Dairy Association and Council and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Council are the campaign’s national partners.

Prior to the launch of the campaign, New Jersey historically ranked nearly last in the nation for its low student participation in school breakfast. According to FRAC’s report, New Jersey schools are now serving nearly 51 percent of low-income children who also ate lunch at school. The goal is to serve 70 percent of these students.

New Jersey has about 300,000 low-income students who are still missing out on breakfast.