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Free School Breakfast Initiative Data Augmentation and Analysis


Breakfast is commonly referred to as the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast is associated with a wealth of deleterious short-term health outcomes, with implications for long-term chronic disease risk, in terms of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Furthermore, research suggests that breakfast eating contributes significantly to the overall nutritional adequacy of the diet (Nicklas et al., 2003; Sjoberg et al., 2003) and provides an opportunity to consume foods such as grain products and fruits, widely regarded as important in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2000; Liu et al., 2003) Hence, from a public health perspective, addressing both the consumption of breakfast and the quality of foods consumed is of significant interest in primary prevention efforts.

Research in the United Kingdom highlights the need to address breakfast consumption amongst school children. In school surveys, 5% of pupils have been found to have gone without breakfast, 3% to have only consumed a drink and 10% to only have eaten low nutrition food such crisps or chocolate (Balding, 2001) Furthermore, breakfast skipping has been found to be significantly higher amongst obese children (Elgar et al., 2005) and those from more deprived backgrounds (Keski-Rahkonen et al., 2003; O'Dea & Caputi, 2001).

Aims of Project

This project involves augmentation and secondary analysis of data collected by CISHE as part of a national evaluation of the Welsh Assembly Primary School Free School Breakfast Initiative (PSFSBI), which aims to improve the health of children in Wales by making free healthy breakfasts available to all maintained primary schools (click here for details of the original evaluation). To date only school level regression analyses examining aggregate effects of the intervention upon repeated cross-sections of children from each of these schools have been conducted. These unpublished findings indicate statistically significant differences between intervention and control schools in the consumption of healthy food items at breakfast, in attitudes towards breakfast, and in parental reports of a shift in breakfast consumption from home to school. The data augmentation and analyses will provide important further information on the effectiveness of the PSFSBI, and notably on the impact of the PSFSBI on socio-economic disparities in diet, cognition and school performance. This will have an immediate impact on this policy in Wales, and on breakfast club policy and provision in the UK and elsewhere.

This project is being conducted in collaboration with the following partners:

  • School of Human Sciences, Swansea University,
  • Health Information Research Unit (HIRU), School of Medicine, Swansea University


National Prevention Research Initiative. The Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative: Data Augmentation and Analysis. (Moore L, Murphy S, Tapper K, Lyons R, Benton D).

Project Value

£265, 000



Additional Information

For further information:

For a full list of projects at the Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics: