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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.
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