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Breakfast for learning month

In Canada, 1 million children face hunger each year. That’s 1 in 6 kids who do not have enough to eat.

A hungry child is a child who has difficulty learning, could suffer impaired physical growth and is unable to socialize normally. Children who go to school hungry may have physical and mental health issues for the rest of their lives.

What happens to a child who is malnourished?

When child isn’t eating enough, the body has only a small amount of food energy to go around. That food energy is first used to keep basic body functions going like the heart and lungs. Then a portion is used for growth. And lastly, whatever is left goes to social activity and learning.

A malnourished child is at significant risk of experiencing:

  • Impaired physical growth - Good nutrition is directly linked to physical growth and development in children. Children who are chronically hungry are likely not getting the vitamins and minerals they need for proper development. They may be shorter than average, weight less than other children the same age, and fall ill frequently.
  • Inability to learn - A child’s cognitive development – the brain’s ability to learn - suffers greatly from hunger. Extended hunger could lead to learning disabilities or other impairments. Hungry children lack energy and have trouble focusing. If the child is frequently ill, he or she misses school and may have great difficulty catching up.
  • Social struggles – A child who does not get enough to eat may feel embarrassed about his or her situation. He or she may suffer from stress and anxiety. These feelings could affect a child’s interaction with others. A lack of food may lead to fighting or stealing. If the child is struggling academically, he or she may be socially isolated.

Breakfast for Learning feeds hungry kids

Research has shown that when children are part of a school nutrition program their attendance, behaviour, attitude and mood improves and so do their test scores and comprehension.

Children who are not distracted by a grumbling stomach or a pounding headache are able to focus and learn in school. They socialize better, deal with challenges easier and make smarter choices.

Breakfast for Learning was founded by Canadian Living magazine in 1992. Over the past 20 years, Breakfast for Learning has helped to nourish more than 3.8 million children from coast to coast, providing over 594 million meals (breakfast and lunch) and snacks.

With every healthy meal and snack served, young Canadian students can focus on being present at school and succeeding academically.

Feed young minds

September is Breakfast for Learning Month. As your children head back to school, make sure to give them their best start with a healthy breakfast each day that includes fruit, dairy and grains.

Consider helping those who go to school on an empty stomach by making an online donation, Giving a Gift That Nourishes or by holding your own event to raise funds.

Together we can give Canadian children the best chance at success in life – one meal at a time.