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82% of teachers say teens are coming to school hungry

British teens lose 51 minutes of learning per school day due to hunger reveals Kellogg's

Posted by Lucinda Reid | June 25, 2017 | Health & wellbeing

Nearly four in 10 teachers, surveyed by Kellogg’s, believed one reason children in their class were hungry was due to their parents being unable to afford food for breakfast.

Nearly half of the 500 UK secondary teachers’ surveyed claimed kids aged 11 to 16 failed to understand why they need breakfast to help them learn.

The study also found teachers battling with hungry teenagers in the classroom were often left dealing with kids unable to concentrate (73%), an increase in misbehaviour (28%) or grumpiness from class members (34%) in the mornings.

When asked how many minutes of learning the average hungry teen loses a day, teachers estimated a shocking 51 minutes, that’s approximately 10 hours and 20 minutes* if they go to school with an empty tummy once a week for a whole school term.

More than one in 10 teachers believed this could have a long term impact on GCSE results, with 20 per cent believing one child’s hunger could disrupt the learning of others in the class.

A further study by Kellogg’s found nearly half of the 1,000 children surveyed had attended a breakfast club in primary school, but only a fifth go to a morning school club to get something to eat before class at high school.

The survey results would indicate that a breakfast club for young people in secondary education, particularly those who need it most, would still be a wise investment

School breakfast clubs ensure children get something to eat before starting the school day so they can perform at their best.

Head of Research at The Children’s Food Trust, Jo Nicholas, supports more healthy breakfast provision and said: “Secondary education sees our young people maturing into adulthood, going through stressful exams and often choosing a life career path. All these things are hard to do when you are hungry and teens are often the forgotten age group when it comes to hunger.

“The survey results would indicate that a breakfast club for young people in secondary education, particularly those who need it most, would still be a wise investment,” continued Jo. “Like all other school food provision, breakfasts need to be healthy as what children eat now determines their future health.”

Breakfast Clubs have been shown to improve attendance, concentration and learning in children.

The research also revealed that around one in 10 children feel too ashamed to eat in front of their friends, potentially putting them off attending a breakfast club before school.

UK Managing Director for Kellogg’s, Dave Lawlor, said: “Kellogg’s has been supporting breakfast clubs in schools for 19 years providing funding, cereal donations and training to a network of 3,000 Breakfast Clubs across the UK. We would encourage our stakeholders to look at ways we can increase breakfast club support to help boost the provision from primary school to secondary school.”

*The calculation is based upon an average 12-week school term

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