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Tuesday, March 09th, 2010 | Author:

On Thursday, March 4 during breakfast in Ms. Keri Moura’s classroom at Robertson Elementary Center in Central Falls, Principal, Sharon Cabral received  a check for $1000 from Andrew Schiff, Director of the Rhode Island Food Bank.  This award was in recognition for increasing the number of students eating breakfast every day at Robertson where over 70% of students enrolled are eating school breakfast.

Many more Central Falls elementary students are starting their day with a balanced breakfast  courtesy of the new Breakfast In the Classroom program that was pioneered at the Robertson Elementary Center in October by ARAMARK, Central Falls’ Food Service provider.  This program has since also been implemented at Ella Risk and Veteran’s Memorial elementary schools in Central Falls and these schools will  be receiving $1000 checks in April and June respectively.

To encourage schools to make the changes necessary to increase the number of students eating breakfast at school, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Kids First and RIDE developed the “School Breakfast Excellence Awards.”  Schools that achieve 50 percent participation in school breakfast, one-half of the total enrollment, for at least one month, receive a $1,000 check which can be used by the school’s principal to benefit the students. In order to be eligible, a school must be a Rhode Island public school located in a high-need community in which at least 40 percent of the lunches are served to free and reduced-price eligible children.   

As many as 35 percent of U.S. school children skip breakfast, a problem that medical experts say is contributing to our nation’s childhood obesity crisis. ARAMARK is helping its Rhode Island school district partners offer breakfast through innovative programs, including breakfast in the classroom, breakfast in the cafeteria, and portable breakfast delivery options.

“Breakfast helps jump-start a child’s metabolism and mind,” said Dennis Gomez, District Manager for ARAMARK Education in Rhode Island.  “As part of ARAMARK’s commitment to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity campaign, we are actively working with our school district partners to ensure students have access to nutritious meals at school. Several school administrators report seeing an increase in student attendance, behavior and classroom performance after they started offering breakfast at school.”

 

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According to Dr. Karen Cullen, associate professor of pediatrics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, a balanced breakfast gets students off to a good start in the morning, is part of a healthy diet and helps maintain a healthy body weight. “Unfortunately, up to 35 percent of children of all ages skip breakfast, for a variety of reasons, often economic,” she said.

Studies by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) have shown that children who skip breakfast are more likely to over-eat later in the day, make less healthy food choices and often end up storing more fat than non-breakfast eaters.

 

In addition to the link between not eating breakfast and childhood obesity, a study conducted by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that children who ate breakfast in school had fewer absences, higher math grades, and fewer incidences of problems like depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity. 

 

As part of USDA’s National School Breakfast Program, all schools, private or public, are eligible to receive federal funds for every breakfast served.  During the 2008-09 school year, only about 47 percent of eligible children participated in the Program, leaving over $500 million in federal funding on the table.   In Rhode Island, typically only about 23% of eleigible students participate.

 

 

 

About ARAMARK Education

ARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S.  It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including: on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and facilities management services, including maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning.  For more information on ARAMARK Education’s K-12 food service programs, please visit www.aramarkschools.com.

 

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