Eating a balanced breakfast every morning is one of the simplest things we can all do to ensure our bodies and brains are receiving the vital nutrients they need. Our first meal is responsible for fueling our body after a night of fasting, which is why it is the most important meal of the day. Whether it’s for children to concentrate at school or adults at work, breakfast is essential for all of us; at the Breakfast Club of Canada, we like to say that ‘Breakfast is the first bite to success’!
In spite of how important this first meal of the day is, close to one million Canadian children are at risk of going to school on an empty stomach. According to the 2012 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, close to one million or 14.5 per cent of Canadian children live in poverty. As indicated by the report, this means one in seven children live in a household that struggles to meet their basic needs, which includes food. In First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, the figure rises to one in four children, and the risk is 2.5 times higher among immigrants and newcomers than in the general population.
Just as a powerful engine cannot run without fuel, the learning abilities of children who do not have breakfast are undermined. Hunger results in a lack of concentration, irritability, and an increase in negative behavior. This is the start of a downward spiral that can affect their physical and mental health, and could impact their ability to learn and succeed in school.
The Club was founded on the belief that every child has the right to succeed in life, to grow in their self-esteem and self-confidence, and most of all to have safe and reliable access to food. We partner with local agencies and schools across Canada to provide nutritionally balanced breakfasts to children and youth every school day, in a positive environment that fosters self-esteem.
Having access to a healthy breakfast means much more than just having a full tummy. Here are some of the numerous benefits to the Club’s breakfast programs:
- Greater attention in school: Teachers report 30 additional minutes of effective teaching time, as a result of breakfast programs.
- Improved learning and concentration: Typically 60% of educational material is delivered before lunch. Children need breakfast in order to start their day right.
- Improved attendence: Students come to school for breakfast and stay to learn.
- Increased self-esteem: A balanced breakfast gives children mental and physical energy. It levels the playing field with the other students.
While this meal may seem trivial to those who have never had to go without, for many Canadian children, having a nutritious breakfast is positively impacting both their physical and mental health. The benefits from this one simple meal are felt in the classroom, at home, and ultimately, in our communities.
About Breakfast Club of Canada
Breakfast Club of Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing services and funding to school breakfast programs. The Club has been operating in Québec since 1994 and in the rest of the country since 2005. In collaboration with individuals and corporate partners, the Club is now supporting 1,266 breakfast programs in Canada, reaching 130,000 students every school day.To support Breakfast Club of Canada, visit breakfastclubcanada.org