Altering the School Breakfast Environment Reduces Barriers to School Breakfast Participation Among Diverse Rural Youth

Mary O. Hearst, Amy Shanafelt, Qi Wang, Robert Leduc, Marilyn S. Nanney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The purpose is to determine if altering school breakfast policies and the school breakfast environment will positively impact adolescent beliefs of the barriers and benefits of eating breakfast. METHODS: There were 904 adolescents from 16 rural high schools, Minnesota, in the BreakFAST Study who reported eating breakfast fewer than 4 times per week at baseline. Schools were randomized to intervention (N = 8 schools) or delayed intervention (N = 8) condition. The intervention lasted 1 school year. Students completed an online survey of beliefs of barriers and benefits to eating breakfast at baseline and follow-up. Summative scales were created. Bivariate and multivariate linear regression, accounting for clustering by school, was performed using SAS. Sex interaction was tested. Models tested the effect of the intervention on change in summative scales from baseline to follow -up. RESULTS: Participants were 54% female, 69.1% white, 36.6% eligible for free or reduced-price meals (FRM) and 13.1% of families received public assistance. The change in reported barriers was significantly different in intervention versus control schools (Net difference = 1.0, p =.03). There was no intervention effect of perceived benefits. CONCLUSIONS: A school-based policy and environmental change intervention can successfully reduce perceived barriers to eating school breakfast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence to: Mary O. Hearst, Associate Professor, (, St. Catherine University, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, 2004 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105. This study was supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (PI: Marilyn S. Nanney) Grant Number R01HL113235. unique ID: 1111S06384. The data for this study were managed through REDCap Grant Number UL1TR000114 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We would like to acknowledge the schools participating in this study, University of Minnesota Extension staff, Community Blueprint, and all study staff for their dedication and commitment to this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, American School Health Association


  • adolescent
  • intervention
  • school breakfast
  • school policy


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