Study: Students Skipping Breakfast Get Poor Grades

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. equivalent / ɪˈkwɪv ə lənt / (adj) – equal in value, amount, etc.

    Eating two slices of bread is equivalent to eating half a cup of rice.

  2. put (someone) at a disadvantage / pʊt ət ə ˌdɪs ədˈvæn tɪdʒ / (idiom) – to be in an unfavorable position

    The foreign exchange student can’t speak English, so participating in class puts her at a disadvantage.

  3. total / ˈtoʊt  / (v) – to add up

    Private school fees total up to thousands of dollars.

  4. deprived / dɪˈpraɪvd / (adj) – not having things considered important or necessary

    My new diet makes me feel deprived because I can’t eat my favorite food.

  5. expand / ɪkˈspænd / (v) – to grow in number, size, volume, or scope

    The new rule will be expanded to include citizens who are below legal age.


Read the text below.

Researchers from the University of Leeds found a link between eating breakfast and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) grades among British students.

The study found that students who skip breakfast get lower GCSE scores compared to those who frequently eat breakfast. On average, breakfast skippers scored 10.25 points lower—equivalent to almost two grades down.

Dr. Katie Adolphus, the study’s lead researcher, said that skipping breakfast puts students at a disadvantage because they are not getting enough nutrition to fuel their brains for the day.

To conduct the study, the researchers surveyed 294 students aged 16 to 18 years old from schools in West Yorkshire, England. The students provided information about their age, ethnicity, height, weight, parents’ highest educational attainment, and secondary education GCSE grades. The participants also completed a week-long food diary. Finally, the researchers converted the students’ GCSE grades into points and totaled the scores across all subjects.

Currently, the English government runs a program that provides some free meals to schools, but it does not cover breakfast. Some charities try to provide breakfast, but not in all areas.

Because of this lack, charities funded by the Department of Education have established their own breakfast programs, in which they give free breakfast to more than 1,800 schools in the most socioeconomically deprived parts of the country.

According to the researchers, their study highlights the need to expand the country’s current free breakfast program to include every state school in England and to consider introducing a school breakfast legislation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Should the English government expand the free meals program to include breakfast? Why or why not?
• Do you think all schools in England should have access to the free school meals program? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people skip breakfast? Discuss.
• How can people be encouraged to eat breakfast every day? Explain.