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Free Healthy Breakfasts in Primary Schools: a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of a Policy Intervention in Wales, UK

July 2010

Simon Murphy, GF Moore, K. Tapper, R. Lynch, R. Clarke, L. Raisanen, C. Desousa, L. Moore


This randomized experiment studies the effects of offering free breakfast to schoolchildren in Wales. Results show that in schools with free breakfast, children, on average, consumed much healthier breakfasts, and held much more positive views on eating breakfast. There were no significant differences found in instances of breakfast skipping, memory, or classroom behavior.

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Policy Implications

These results argue that providing free breakfast to children at school may have significantly positive effects, depending on the policy’s goals. While this program will likely improve nutrition, there is no expected effect on academic or behavioral outcomes.

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