Breakfast Is Brain Food? The Effect on Grade Point Average of a Rural Group Randomized Program to Promote School Breakfast

Mary O. Hearst, Fanny Jimbo-Llapa, Katherine Grannon, Qi Wang, Marilyn S. Nanney, Caitlin E. Caspi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Adolescents frequently miss breakfast which may impact cognitive, academic, and health outcomes. This analysis describes the effect of a trial to assess school level changes to increase breakfast consumption on grade point average (GPA). METHODS: Sixteen rural Minnesota high schools were randomized to a policy and environmental change intervention or delayed intervention (control) group. Baseline screening identified, randomly selected and enrolled 9th and 10th grade students who eat breakfast ≤3 times per school week for assessment. Mean unweighted GPA was provided by 13 schools for 636 students. Student-level and administrative data were used for sociodemographic and free or reduced-price meals (FRPM). Linear mixed models and latent class analysis (LCA) were used to assess change in GPA. RESULTS: Students were 54% female, 76% white, and 34% received FRPM. Unweighted cumulative GPA mean = 2.82 (0.78) at baseline. There was no significant intervention effect on GPA postintervention or 1-year follow-up. LCA revealed two classes: “higher” (N = 495) and “lower” (N = 141) resource. There was an intervention effect among low-resource students from baseline to 1-year post only among the control condition (delayed intervention). CONCLUSIONS: In combination with the full study results, increasing breakfast consumption may have an impact particularly for low resource students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-721
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Source: Grant Number R01HL113235 from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (PI: Marilyn S. Nanney). 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 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:
© 2019, American School Health Association


  • adolescent health
  • breakfast skipping
  • nutrition and diet
  • school health policy
  • school health research


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