School Wide Activity

Initiative Description: Over a four week period, children attended a school breakfast club each day and ate one of three meals. Each meal offered a similar amount of energy but differed in their glycaemic load. When the child had finished eating, the percentages of the food items that remained were recorded. Estimates were made of the nutritional composition of the breakfasts consumed based on weighed samples of the food supplied. When working individually, the behavior of a child was rated in the classroom every ten seconds for 30 min to produce a measure of time spent on the task. The primary measure of the study was derived from a video recording of the class. The first thirty minutes that a child spent concentrating on their school work was measured after they had been asked to work alone. In addition, on days when their behavior in class was not measured, three tests of psychological functioning were administered individually with typically two children being tested on any one day.

Study Results: Two to three hours after a low glycaemic load breakfast had been consumed, performance on the tests of memory and the ability to sustain attention were better, fewer signs of frustration were displayed and initially more time was spent on task when working individually in class.

Reference: Benton, D., Maconie, A., & Williams, C. (2007). The influence of the glycaemic load of breakfast on the behaviour of children in school. Physiology & Behavior, 92(4), 717–724.

Level of Evidence: 2 out of 5 stars Good