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More Valley students eating breakfast in school

Posted: Friday, Oct 5th, 2012


Alamosa Elementary students are offered breakfast in the classroom. The district has seen an increase of 9.74 percent in breakfast program participation. In 2009, 41.59 percent of students participated compared to 51.33 percent a year later. Courier file photo by Lauren Krizansky


Courier staff writer

VALLEY ó In a state devoted to its food production, many of its children go hungry in the morning.

The reality of children lacking a steady diet, however, is not unrecognized. Colorado schools are providing hundreds of thousands of meals to students annually, but there is room for improvement. According to the 2011 Hunger Free Colorado School Breakfast Report, endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education Department of School Nutrition and No Kid Hungry Colorado Campaign, nearly 75 percent of students who need school breakfast programs do not eat school breakfast. Daily breakfast program participation increased to 108,509 breakfasts per day in the 2010-2011 school year, but for every 100 students eating a free and reduced price (FRP) program lunch, only 40 FRP students are eating a school breakfast.

Colorado legislation has allocated funding to expand access to school lunch programs. It allows districts to count breakfast served in the classroom as instructional time, according to the report. The state pays the reduced-price co-payment for breakfast, enabling students of poverty to eat breakfast for free at schools with a breakfast program. The need for such measures are reflected in the consistent rise in school breakfast access and participation over the last few years with a 7.33 percent increase in the number of FRP breakfasts served per FRP lunches served and a 5.23 percent growth in the number of FRP breakfasts served per FRP eligible students from the 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 school years.

The federally funded School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides reimbursements to schools participating in the breakfast and lunch service that comply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional guidelines and meal pattern. Schools receive three types of reimbursement: free, reduced and paid. Qualification is based on family income. The USDA will reimburse Colorado schools $1.51 for a free breakfast, $1.21 for reduced breakfast and $0.27 for paid breakfast for the 2011-2012 school year. The state contributes an additional $0.30 per reduced breakfast so schools receive the free reimbursement rate, $1.51, for both FRP eligible students. The estimated total 2010-2011 180-day reimbursement is $28,171,194.

South Conejos School District and Del Norte School District were among the greatest district participa





tion rate growth in the state between the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years at 34 percent and 16.69 percent, respectively. Three Valley districts were among the stateís greatest participation rate decrease during the same timeframe. Sangre de Cristo School District saw a difference of -7.77 percent, Sanford School District -5.85 percent and Monte Vista -5.62 percent.

Valley schools served a total of 550,179 breakfast meals during the 2010-2011 school year, up 48,641 from the prior year, according to the reportís latest data. All the meals served fell under either the severe reduced or severe free categories in addition to paid meals, and the Creede Consolidated School District served zero breakfast meals during the same timeframe.

In 2010-2011, 73,491 severe reduced breakfast meals were served in Valley schools and 363,101 severe free. There were no non-severe reduced or free meals provided. The previous year, 69,045 severe reduced breakfasts were served and 327,101 severe free. Sargent School District was the only district to serve non-severe breakfast meals. It served 26 non-severe reduced and 107 non-severe free.

The Del Norte School Districtís Underwood Elementary was recognized in 2010 with an honorable mention award in the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge with a 52 percent increase in breakfast eaters. The school had to complete self-reporting surveys about the program to participate in the contest.



Alamosa County

2009 67 percent FRP eligible

2010 69 percent FRP eligible

Alamosa School District

2009 68 percent FRP eligible

2010 70 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 9.74 percent

Sangre de Cristo School District

2009 60 percent FRP eligible

2010 60 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -7.77 percent



Conejos County

2009 70 percent FRP eligible

2010 71 percent FRP eligible

North Conejos School District

2009 70 percent FRP eligible

2010 71 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -1.18 percent

Sanford School District

2009 64 percent FRP eligible

2010 64 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -5.85 percent

South Conejos School District

2009 73 percent FRP eligible

2010 78 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 34 percent



Costilla County

2009 81 percent FRP eligible

2010 82 percent FRP eligible

Centennial School District

2009 81 percent FRP eligible

2010 82 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 2.29 percent

Sierra Grande School District

2009 77 percent FRP eligible

2010 81 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 1.10 percent



Mineral County

2009 29 percent FRP eligible

2010 50 percent FRP eligible

Creede Consolidated School District

2009 30 percent FRP eligible

2010 50 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 0 percent



Rio Grande County

2009 61 percent FRP eligible

2010 60 percent FRP eligible

Del Norte School District

2009 69 percent FRP eligible

2010 54 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 16.69 percent

Monte Vista School District

2009 64 percent FRP eligible

2010 68 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -5.62 percent

Sargent School District

2009 42 percent FRP eligible

2010 45 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -2.50 percent



Saguache County

2009 77 percent FRP eligible

2010 77 percent FRP eligible

Center School District

2009 89 percent FRP eligible

2010 87 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 5.77 percent

Moffat School District

2009 52 percent FRP eligible

2010 51 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change -2.37 percent

Mountain Valley School District

2009 58 percent FRP eligible

2010 70 percent FRP eligible

2009-2010 to 2012-2011 SBP participation rate change 8.24 percent





Why bother with breakfast?

Breakfast is a great way to give the body the refueling it needs. Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier overall and are more likely to participate in physical activities ó two great ways to help maintain a healthy weight.

Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they donít eat at least a small morning meal.

Breakfast also can help keep kidsí weight in check. Breakfast kick-starts the bodyís metabolism, the process by which the body converts the fuel in food to energy. And when the metabolism gets moving, the body starts burning calories.

Also, people who donít eat breakfast often consume more calories throughout the day and are more likely to be overweight. Thatís because someone who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch.

Breakfast brainpower

Itís important for kids to have breakfast every day, but what they eat in the morning is crucial too. Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar may boost kidsí attention span, concentration, and memory ó which they need to learn in school.

Kids who eat breakfast are more likely to get fiber, calcium, and other important nutrients. They also tend to keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and fewer absences from school, and make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.

-www.kidshealth.com












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