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Polonsky HM, Bauer KW, Fisher JO, Davey A, Sherman S, Abel ML, Hanlon A, Ruth KJ, Dale LC, Foster GD
Effect of a Breakfast in the Classroom Initiative on Obesity in Urban School-aged Children: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial
JAMA Pediatr (2019) 173:326-333.
Abstract
Importance: Serving breakfast in the classroom is promoted to increase participation in the federal School Breakfast Program. However, little is known about the effect of breakfast in the classroom on children's weight status. Objective: To evaluate the effect of a breakfast in the classroom initiative, which combined breakfast in the classroom with breakfast-specific nutrition education, on overweight and obesity among urban children in low-income communities. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cluster-randomized clinical trial among 1362 fourth- through sixth-grade students from low-income urban communities across 2.5 years. Sixteen kindergarten through eighth grade Philadelphia public schools with universal breakfast participated. Participants were recruited in September 2013, and the intervention began in January 2014. Data analysis took place from April 1, 2018, to August 30, 2018. Interventions: Intervention schools received a program that included breakfast in the classroom and breakfast-specific nutrition education. Control schools continued breakfast before school in the cafeteria and standard nutrition education. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the combined incidence of overweight and obesity. Secondary outcomes included the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity, incidence and prevalence of obesity, changes in body mass index (BMI) z score, and School Breakfast Program participation. Results: Among the 1362 students, mean (SD) age was 10.8 (0.96) years and 700 (51.4%) were female; 907 (66.6%) were black, 233 (17.1%) were Hispanic, 100 (7.3%) were white, 83 (6.1%) were Asian, and 39 were of multiple or other race/ethnicity. After 2.5 years, students in intervention schools had participated in the School Breakfast Program 53.8% of days, compared with 24.9% of days among students in control schools (beta = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.22-0.42). There was no difference between intervention and control schools in the combined incidence of overweight and obesity after 2.5 years (11.7% vs 9.3%; odds ratio [OR] 1.31; 95% CI, 0.85-2.02; P = .22). However, the incidence (11.6% vs 4.4%; OR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.47-4.00) and prevalence (28.0% vs 21.2%; OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.11-1.92) of obesity were higher in intervention schools than in control schools after 2.5 years. Conclusions and Relevance: A breakfast in the classroom initiative increased participation in the School Breakfast Program and did not affect the combined incidence of overweight and obesity. However, the initiative had an unintended consequence of increasing incident and prevalent obesity. Further research is needed to identify approaches to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program that do not increase obesity among students. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01924130.
Note
Publication Date: 2019-04-01.
PMCID: PMC6450266
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Last updated on Thursday, April 02, 2020