Breakfast Intake and Composition Is Associated with Superior Academic Achievement in Elementary Schoolchildren

Lauren T. Ptomey, Felicia L. Steger, Matthew M. Schubert, Jaehoon Lee, Erik A. Willis, Debra K. Sullivan, Amanda N. Szabo-Reed, Richard A. Washburn, Joseph E. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether breakfast consumption or content affects academic achievement measured by standardized tests. Methods: Baseline data were collected in fall of 2011 from 698 students (50.5% female, age = 7.5 ± 0.6 years) living in the state of Kansas. Academic achievement was assessed using 3 components from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III). Prior to taking the WIAT-III, participants completed a breakfast recall of all foods and drinks consumed that morning, which was analyzed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDS-R). WIAT-III scores were compared between breakfast and non-breakfast consumers in a sample (n = 162) matched for age, sex, race, education level of both parents, household income, body mass index (BMI), and cardiovascular fitness, and Pearson correlations were calculated from all breakfast eaters (n = 617) between test performance and components of the breakfast. Results: When compared to non-breakfast consumers, the breakfast consumers had significantly higher scores in all 3 WIAT-III components (all p < 0.05). In breakfast consumers, servings of fruit juice were negatively correlated with reading comprehension and fluency standard score and mathematics standard score (both p < 0.0001), and greater servings of whole grains were significantly related to higher scores in reading comprehension and fluency and mathematics (both p < 0.05). Conclusion: Both breakfast consumption and the content may be associated with improved standardized test performance in elementary school students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-333
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 18 2016


  • academic achievement
  • breakfast
  • children
  • diet
  • elementary school


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