Effects of breakfast on classroom behaviour in rural Jamaican schoolchildren

Susan M. Chang, Susan P. Walker, John Himes, Sally M. Grantham-McGregor

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14 Scopus citations


The effects of giving breakfast on classroom behaviour were examined in 57 undernourished (≦-1 SD weight-for-age) and 56 adequately nourished (>-1 SD weight-for-age) children, selected from four rural Jamaican schools. Using a time-sampling method of observation, the children's behaviour was observed twice, once after receiving breakfast and once after receiving a piece of fruit. The impact of breakfast varied among the schools but not between nutritional groups. In the school that was best equipped and organized, the children were more attentive (p < .005) and moved less (p < .05) when they received breakfast than when they had no breakfast. In the other three schools there was no improvement; in two of these schools, the children were less on task when given breakfast (p < .02 and p < .01), and they talked more in one school (p < .05). This suggests that school breakfast may only benefit children's behaviour in the presence of satisfactory classroom infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-257
Number of pages10
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


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