Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wake Up Call for Healthy Breakfast

With all of the vigorous actions being taken by the city's Health Department to try to regulate New Yorkers to better health, there is one thing that is really in the city's control when it comes to insuring this vital goal-classroom breakfast for the city's close to 1,000,000 school kids. As Councilman Joel Rivera says this morning in his editorial in the NY Daily News, "In addition, by providing the majority of our low-income students with a nutritious breakfast, our schools can become an important factor in the reduction of the alarming increase in childhood obesity in our city."

And he's right. Kids who come into the classroom without eating breakfast are less able to concentrate on their school work and educational outcomes suffer as a result: "One study by the Nutrition Consortium of New York State found that the method had a positive impact on education and student performance, including decreased tardiness, reduced absenteeism, fewer disciplinary referrals and fewer visits to the school nurse."

Classroom breakfast has also been endorsed by the California Food Policy Advocates group that recommends that schools should institute a number of different breakfast methods, including the use of the classroom as a preferred venue. The reason? Once again it relates to the health and educational benefits that can be attained when more kids eat a health breakfast.

Staff from the Health Corps, a group that wants to take the lead on this issue, will be meeting with NYC DOE school food heads this week. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the implementation of a classroom breakfast pilot program in the city schools. Let's hope that educators, parents and educrats can all get together in this worthwhile effort.