Skip to main content Accessibility help

School staff, parent and student perceptions of a Breakfast in the Classroom model during initial implementation

  • Sara C Folta (a1), Holly Carmichael Djang (a2), Megan Halmo (a2), Nesly Metayer (a2), Stacy A Blondin (a1), Kathleen S Smith (a2) and Christina D Economos (a1) (a2)...



To understand perspectives of stakeholders during initial district-wide implementation of a Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) model of the School Breakfast Program.


Qualitative data were collected from twenty-nine focus groups and twenty interviews with stakeholders in a school district early in the process of implementing a BIC model of the School Breakfast Program.


Ten elementary schools within a large, urban school district in the USA that served predominantly low-income, racial/ethnic minority students.


Purposively selected stakeholders in elementary schools that had implemented BIC for 3–6 months: students (n 85), parents/guardians (n 86), classroom teachers (n 44), cafeteria managers (n 10) and principals (n 10).


Four primary themes emerged, which were interpreted based on the Diffusion of Innovations model. School staff had changed their perceptions of both the relative disadvantages and costs related to time and effort of BIC over time; the majority of each stakeholder group expressed an appreciation for BIC; student breakfast consumption varied from day to day, related to compatibility of foods with child preferences; and stakeholders held mixed and various impressions of BIC’s potential impacts.


The study underscores the importance of engaging school staff and parents in discussions of BIC programming prior to its initiation to pre-emptively address concerns related to cost, relative disadvantages and compatibility with child preferences and school routines/workflow. Effectively communicating with stakeholders about positive impacts and nutritional value of the meals may improve support for BIC. These findings provide new information to policy makers, districts and practitioners that can be used to improve implementation efforts, model delivery and outcomes.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email


Hide All
1. Chitra, U & Reddy, CR (2007) The role of breakfast in nutrient intake of urban schoolchildren. Public Health Nutr 10, 5558.
2. Rampersaud, GC (2009) Benefits of breakfast for children and adolescents: update and recommendations for practitioners. Am J Lifestyle Med 3, 86103.
3. Deshmukh-Taskar, PR, Nicklas, TA, O’Neil, CE et al. (2010) The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2006. J Am Diet Assoc 110, 869878.
4. Sandercock, GR, Voss, C & Dye, L (2010) Associations between habitual school-day breakfast consumption, body mass index, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in English schoolchildren. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 10861092.
5. Schembre, SM, Wen, CK, Davis, JN et al. (2013) Eating breakfast more frequently is cross-sectionally associated with greater physical activity and lower levels of adiposity in overweight Latina and African American girls. Am J Clin Nutr 98, 275281.
6. Baharudin, A, Zainuddin, AA, Manickam, MA et al. (2014) Factors associated with physical inactivity among school-going adolescents: data from the Malaysian School-Based Nutrition Survey 2012. Asia Pac J Public Health 26, 5 Suppl., 27S35S.
7. Adolphus, K, Lawton, CL & Dye, L (2013) The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents. Front Hum Neurosci 7, 425.
8. Rampersaud, GC, Pereira, MA, Girard, BL et al. (2005) Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 105, 743760.
9. Hoyland, A, Dye, L & Lawton, CL (2009) A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr Res Rev 22, 220243.
10. Szajewska, H & Ruszczynski, M (2010) Systematic review demonstrating that breakfast consumption influences body weight outcomes in children and adolescents in Europe. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 50, 113119.
11. Horikawa, C, Kodama, S, Yachi, Y et al. (2011) Skipping breakfast and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Asian and Pacific regions: a meta-analysis. Prev Med 53, 260267.
12. US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2014) School Breakfast Program (SBP): Program History. (accessed September 2015).
13. Bhattacharya, J, Currie, J & Haider, SJ (2006) Breakfast of champions? The School Breakfast Program and the nutrition of children and families. J Hum Res 41, 445466.
14. Clark, MA & Fox, MK (2009) Nutritional quality of the diets of US public school children and the role of the school meal programs. J Am Diet Assoc 109, 2 Suppl., S44S56.
15. Gleason, P, Briefel, R, Wilson, A et al. (2009) School Meal Program Participation and Its Association with Dietary Patterns and Childhood Obesity. Final Report. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture.
16. Affenito, SG, Thompson, D, Dorazio, A et al. (2013) Ready-to-eat cereal consumption and the School Breakfast Program: relationship to nutrient intake and weight. J Sch Health 83, 2835.
17. Gleason, PM & Dodd, AH (2009) School breakfast program but not school lunch program participation is associated with lower body mass index. J Am Diet Assoc 109, 2 Suppl., S118S128.
18. US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Research and Analysis (2012) School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV. Alexandria, VA: US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
19. US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2014) School Breakfast Program Fact Sheet. (accessed September 2015).
20. Bailey-Davis, L, Virus, A, McCoy, TA et al. (2013) Middle school student and parent perceptions of government-sponsored free school breakfast and consumption: a qualitative inquiry in an urban setting. J Acad Nutr Diet 113, 251257.
21. McDonnell, E, Probart, C, Weirich, JE et al. (2004) School breakfast programs: perceptions and barriers. J Child Nutr Manage issue 2, Fall 2004; available at
22. Basch, CE (2011) Breakfast and the achievement gap among urban minority youth. J Sch Health 81, 635640.
23. Food Research and Action Center (2015) School Breakfast Scorecard: School Year 2013–2014. Washington, DC: FRAC.
24. Share Our Strength (2013) Breakfast Changes Lives Ensuring No Kids Goes Hungry in the Classroom: Share Our Strength’s Breakfast Report 2013 . Washington, DC: Share Our Strength.
25. Fuel Up to Play 60 (2014) Expanding Breakfast. (accessed January 2016).
26. School Nutrition Association (2015) School Nutrition Trends & Stats. (accessed September 2015).
27. McLaughlin, J, Bernstein, L, Crepinsek, M et al. (2002) Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program Pilot Project: Findings from the First Year of Implementation. Nutrition Assistance Program Report Series no. CN-02-SBP. Alexandia, VA: US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation.
28. Nanney, MS, Olaleye, TM, Wang, Q et al. (2011) A pilot study to expand the school breakfast program in one middle school. Transl Behav Med 1, 436442.
29. Food Research and Action Center (2012) School Breakfast in America’s Big Cities: School Year 2010–2011. Washington, DC: FRAC.
30. Anzman-Frasca, S, Djang, H, Halmo, MM et al. (2015) Estimating impacts of a breakfast in the classroom program on school outcomes. JAMA Pediatr 169, 7177.
31. Van Wye, G, Seoh, H, Adjoian, T et al. (2013) Evaluation of the New York City breakfast in the classroom program. Am J Public Health 103, e59e64.
32. Ritchie, LD, Rosen, NJ, Fenton, K et al. (2015) School breakfast policy is associated with dietary intake of fourth- and fifth-grade students. J Acad Nutr Diet (Epublication ahead of print version).
33. Huang, H-C, Lee, K-I & Shanklin, C (2006) Evaluation of the free school breakfast program in St. Joseph, Missouri. J Child Nutr Manage issue 1, Spring 2006; available at
34. Lambooij, MS & Hummel, MJ (2013) Differentiating innovation priorities among stakeholder in hospital care. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 13, 91.
35. Miles, MB, Huberman, AM & Saldana, J (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.
36. Rogers, EM (2003) Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed. New York: Free Press.
37. Brownson, RC, Tabak, RG, Stamatakis, KA et al. (2015) Implementation, dissemination, and diffusion of public health interventions. In Health Behavior: Theory, Research, and Practice , 5th ed., pp. 301325 [K Glanz, B Rimer and K Viswanath, editors]. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
38. Blondin, SA, Djang, HC, Metayer, N et al. (2015) ‘It’s just so much waste.’ A qualitative exploration of food waste in a universal free School Breakfast Program. Public Health Nutr 18, 15651577.
39. Creighton, L (2012) Stakeholder engagement for successful breakfast in the classroom implementation. J Sch Health 82, 496498.
40. Imberman, SA & Kugler, AD (2014) The effect of providing breakfast in the class on student performance. J Policy Anal Manage 33, 669699.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed