West Virginia Aims to Reduce Obesity Through Healthy Breakfast for All Students

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Students in Mason County, West Virginia, are able to begin their school day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast. They eat with their fellow classmates and prepare their brains for a day of learning. The success of school breakfasts for all students in Mason County has lead to the passing of a bill that will require all schools in West Virginia to provide a school breakfast to every student before the day’s lesson’s begin.

The goal of this program is to improve achievement in the state and reduce childhood obesity, which is extremely important in this state with 29% of high school students being obese. Along with requiring breakfast, this bill requires every county to set up a fund to collect private donations that will go toward other healthy initiatives like buying more fresh produce or starting a school garden to teach students about eating healthy.

The breakfast program will be particularly important for students because skipping breakfast is a common occurrence, whether it be because of lack of time in the mornings or because of lack of availability of food due to poverty. Skipping breakfast can lead to more hunger, which is distracting to the learning of all students and can cause overeating during lunch.

This bill ensures that all students, no matter what level of poverty, will be able to look forward to two healthy meals a day at school. Having healthy meals at school can also balance the amount of calorie-dense but nutrient-sparse foods that are given to poverty stricken students at  home. The success of this breakfast program could act as a model for other states looking to serve more healthy meals to all students.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

22

percent

of Latino youth have depressive symptoms, more than any other group besides Native American youth

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