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Am J Public Health. 1978 May; 68(5): 477–481.
PMCID: PMC1653885

Educational benefits of the United States school feeding program: a critical review of the literature.


In the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 it was stated that educational progress was an objective of the United States School Feeding programs. In spite of this fact no serious attempt has ever been made to evaluate whether this objective has been met; the few evaluations that have been conducted lack scientific rigor. As a whole the studies fail to provide a strong basis from which to make valid inferences regarding the long-term effects of the feeding program on school achievement and adaptation. Studies that have focused on the short-term effects of hunger or morning feeding suggest that the provision of breakfast may both benefit the student emotionally and enhance his capacity to work on school type tasks.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Read MS. Malnutrition, hunger, and behavior. I. Malnutrition and learning. J Am Diet Assoc. 1973 Oct;63(4):379–385. [PubMed]
  • TUTTLE WW, DAUM K, LARSEN R, SALZANO J, ROLOFF L. Effect on school boys of omitting breakfast; physiologic responses, attitudes, and scholastic attainments. J Am Diet Assoc. 1954 Jul;30(7):674–677. [PubMed]
  • Arvedson I, Sterky G, Tjernström K. Breakfast habits of Swedish school children. J Am Diet Assoc. 1969 Sep;55(3):257–261. [PubMed]
  • Lininger FF. Relation of the Use of Milk to the Physical and Scholastic Progress of Undernourished School Children. Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1933 Jun;23(6):555–560. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lieberman HM, Hunt IF, Coulson AH, Clark VA, Swendseid ME, Ho L. Evaluation of a ghetto school breakfast program. J Am Diet Assoc. 1976 Feb;68(2):132–138. [PubMed]
  • TISDALL FF, ROBERTSON EC, DRAKE TGH, JACKSON SH, FOWLER HM, LONG JA, BROUHA L, ELLIS RG, PHILLIPS AJ, ROGERS RS. The Canadian Red Cross school meal study. Can Med Assoc J. 1951 Jun;64(6):477–489. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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