Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9-11-year-old children

Littlecott, Hannah J., Moore, Graham F. ORCID:, Moore, Laurence ORCID:, Lyons, Ronan A. and Murphy, Simon ORCID: 2016. Association between breakfast consumption and educational outcomes in 9-11-year-old children. Public Health Nutrition 19 (9) , pp. 1575-1582. 10.1017/S1368980015002669

[thumbnail of association-between-breakfast-consumption-and-educational-outcomes-in-9-11-year-old-children.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (172kB) | Preview
License URL:
License Start date: 1 January 2015


Breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with health outcomes and cognitive functioning in schoolchildren. Evidence of direct links with educational outcomes remains equivocal. We aimed to examine the link between breakfast consumption in 9–11-year-old children and educational outcomes obtained 6–18 months later. Data on individual-level free school meal entitlement and educational outcomes (Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) at Key Stage 2) were obtained via the SAIL databank and linked to earlier data collected on breakfast consumption. Multilevel modelling assessed associations between breakfast consumption and SATs. Trial of the Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative in Wales. Year 5 and 6 students, n 3093 (baseline) and n 3055 (follow-up). Significant associations were found between all dietary behaviours and better performance in SATs, adjusted for gender and individual- and school-level free school meal entitlement (OR=1·95; CI 1·58, 2·40 for breakfast, OR=1·08; CI 1·04, 1·13 for healthy breakfast items). No association was observed between number of unhealthy breakfast items consumed and educational performance. Association of breakfast consumption with educational performance was stronger where the measure of breakfast consumption was more proximal to SATs tests (OR=2·02 measured 6 months prior to SATs, OR=1·61 measured 18 months prior). Significant positive associations between self-reported breakfast consumption and educational outcomes were observed. Future research should aim to explore the mechanisms by which breakfast consumption and educational outcomes are linked, and understand how to promote breakfast consumption among schoolchildren. Communicating findings of educational benefits to schools may help to enhance buy-in to efforts to improve health behaviours of pupils.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breakfast consumption Educational outcomes Socio-economic inequalities Free school breakfast
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1368-9800
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 17 August 2015
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 10:11

Citation Data

Cited 31 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics