An Economic Analysis of Updating and Expanding School Breakfast Program Offerings in High Schools

Amy Shanafelt, Brandon Magliocco, Kathleen Milbrath, Marilyn (Susie) Nanney, Caitlin Caspi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: School breakfast is an important nutritional component of a student's day. Many schools operate a school breakfast program, but high schools have low rates of participation. This study aimed to investigate the economic impact on school food service, of expanding the school breakfast program to increase participation in high schools. METHODS: Ten rural high schools participated in the economic analysis of expanding their school breakfast program. Schools provided data on costs of daily operation and start-up costs. Analyses calculated the daily breakeven point, revenue, cost, and days needed to recoup costs. RESULTS: Schools sold enough breakfast meals to break even on daily costs of operating an expanded program. Schools saw daily profits ranging from $196–$432 and recouped costs associated with expanding the breakfast program within 15–46 days. CONCLUSIONS: Expanding the school breakfast program can be economical for schools, while increasing student exposure to the health and academic benefits of school breakfast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-422
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was made possible by the late, Marilyn (Susie) Nanney. Dr. Nanney was killed tragically in a motorcycle accident on June 15, 2018. Dr. Nanney was a proponent of making research findings widely accessible to the public and those who can benefit from them. It was extremely important to Dr. Nanney that the BreakFAST study intervention materials and training not only be accessible to schools, but that schools could realistically implement the intervention in the face of limited funds. We would like to acknowledge the participating schools for providing this critical data. This study was funded as an ancillary analysis of Project BreakFAST, supported by Grant Number R01HL113235 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, American School Health Association


  • economic analysis
  • high school students
  • nutrition
  • school breakfast
  • school food services


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