School Wide Activity

Initiative Description: The intervention was a free daily SBP, either the Red Cross Breakfast in Schools program or one provided by the private sector. In New Zealand, there are no national standards relating to the composition of foods provided by such programs, which is reflected in the diversity of foods provided. Food for the Red Cross breakfast program was provided free of charge by local supermarkets. Schools selected from a list of foods that included breakfast cereal (Weet-Bix), low-fat milk, bread, spread (margarine, jam, honey, Marmite), Milo (chocolate flavored drink powder), milk powder and sugar. Food for the private sector breakfast program was provided by food industry partners and consisted of low-fat milk and breakfast cereal.

Study Results: There was a significant decrease in children’s self-reported short-term hunger during the intervention phase compared with the control phase, demonstrated by an increase of 8.6 units on the Freddy satiety scale (95% CI 3.4 to 13.7, p=0.001).

Reference: Mhurchu, C. N., Turley, M., Gorton, D., Jiang, Y., Michie, J., Maddison, R., & Hattie, J.
(2010). Effects of a free school breakfast programme on school attendance, achievement, psychosocial function, and nutrition: A stepped wedge cluster randomised trial. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 738.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good