9 in 10 teachers agree that a healthy breakfast is important for academic achievement. Yet in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), a district where 80% students live in poverty, less than 30% of students participate in the school breakfast program. Without a healthy breakfast it is also no surprise that 54% of the students in LAUSD have an unhealthy body composition according to the California Physical Fitness test, a rate 64% greater than the national average. To succeed in school and live a healthy life, every student needs a nutritious breakfast to start the day.
Together with LAUSD and a coalition of nine nonprofit partners, we figured out how to double the number of students who start their day with a healthy breakfast by changing to a “breakfast in the classroom” model. To address the childhood obesity epidemic, we’re taking advantage of the 58 million impressions per school year generated by the breakfast program to launch a wellness campaign that helps students build a lifetime of healthy habits.
Every District school will transition to the new breakfast program over the next 3 years, impacting over 581,290 students each day. With the support of our funders and nonprofit partners, we providing the human capital necessary to ensure every LAUSD school can implement the program effectively. We are also working with leading consumer goods organizations to develop the integrated wellness campaign supporting student health. Although we’ve just begun, we are already seeing great results. The first 19 elementary schools that have implemented Food For Thought have seen an 84% average increase in breakfast participation.