Hunger pains: Kids who skip breakfast more likely to get angry, say teachers

By Vince Bamford

- Last updated on GMT

Kellogg asked about impact of hunger in the classroom. Pic: © iStock/gpointstudio
Kellogg asked about impact of hunger in the classroom. Pic: © iStock/gpointstudio

Related tags Education

Three quarters of Canadian teachers say children who skip breakfast are more likely to become frustrated or angry at school, according to a new survey for Kellogg.

More than half (54%) of the 403 Canadian elementary, middle and high school teachers polled said they have brought in extra food for students in need. And 92% said they have personally helped a student who has arrived at school hungry.

Children who miss breakfast are more easily frustrated, according to 77% of the teachers quizzed for Kellogg’s third annual Breakfasts for Better Days Survey, while 73% said these children more easily become angered, annoyed or irritated.

Other findings included:

  • 86% of teachers say students who come to school hungry are more likely to engage in bullying
  • 63% say hungry students are more disruptive in class
  • 93% say students who eat breakfast achieve better academic results than those who do not.

As a teacher, it was impossible for me to remain unaffected by the struggle of students who consistently came to school without eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning​," said TV sports presenter Paul Jones, a former elementary school teacher and principal.

Signs of hunger

"I would look out at my class and immediately recognize the signs of hunger. Students fighting to focus on the lesson. Falling asleep at their desk. Acting out. Stealing food. Bullying other students. And my experience isn't unique — many teachers I know tell the same story​."

Jones added that Canadians needed to consider that, when a child comes to school hungry, this can affect every student in the class.

Learning on empty

"The time a teacher takes to care for a child who is acting out or bullying a peer simply because, through no fault of their own, they are hungry, is time they are not spending with the rest of the class,”​ he said.

Raising awareness of issue

Kellogg Canada is calling on consumers to raise awareness of the issue by sharing the Feeding Better Days Infographic (see right) on social media using #FeedingBetterDays.

The company is also donating a portion of the proceeds from its cereals to breakfast partners across Canada, to a maximum of $100,000. Kellogg has also donated more than $3m and 30 million servings of cereal and snacks to organisations including Breakfasts Club Canada and Food Banks Canada.

"When children start the day off with a nutritious breakfast, we know they are better equipped to learn, succeed and surpass their goals​,” said Kellogg Canada communications director Lores Tomé. “That's why we're so committed to shedding a light on the issue of hunger in the classroom​.”

Earlier this year, Kellogg released retails of a similar survey conducted in the UK​ that showed almost all UK teachers feel the number of children coming to school hungry is as high - or higher - than a year ago. Of the 765 teachers polled by the cereal manufacturer late last year, 78% said they see children coming into school hungry at least once a week.

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