To determine whether or not parental perceptions about the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are associated with SBP participation among low-income children, the attitudes of low-income parents toward a newly-implemented SBP in Lawrence, Massachusetts were surveyed. Self-administered surveys were sent home to the parents of 1086 children; response rate was 70%. Sixty percent of respondents reported that their child ate breakfast at school. Children were significantly more likely to be participants than non-participants if they were Hispanic as opposed to white, non-Hispanic, if they shared in the decision as to where they would eat breakfast, and if they were eligible for free meals as opposed to reduced-price meals. Parents of participants were significantly more likely than parents of non-participants to feel the SBP would save them time or energy and family food money, and that it was good for children to eat with their classmates. As might be expected, participants' parents were significantly less likely to feel that children should only eat breakfast at home with the family. Additional research is needed to address factors that prevent low-income children who wish to participate in an SBP from doing so. In addition to student and family characteristics, future research should investigate school characteristics, program operations, the effectiveness of program promotion, and the role of nutrition education.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health