Report: Kids are well fed in local schools

On an average day during the 2007-08 school year, almost 13,000 low-income Vermont students received a school breakfast, ranking Vermont ninth in the nation, according to the FRAC School Breakfast Scorecard 2008. The scorecard is issued annually by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) to measure national and state trends in school breakfast.

School breakfast ensures that all children have adequate nutrition to start their day. It is claimed that serving breakfast to schoolchildren significantly improves their health, prevents obesity, increases student achievement, and reduces discipline problems.

Last year, the Vermont State Legislature strengthened the nutrition safety net by providing funds to allow all low-income students access to free school breakfast. Support of these programs are paid for by the taxpayer.

Sen. Susan Bartlett (D) of Lamoille County, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: "As a result of this bill, we've heard from schools around the state that the number of low-income children starting the day with school breakfast has increased. In some cases it's actually doubled. In these tough economic times, this is providing a strong safety net for children, allowing them to spend the morning focused on learning instead of counting the minutes until lunch."

In Vermont, 91 percent of public schools offer school breakfast and the FRAC School Breakfast Scorecard 2008 indicates that Vermont has high rates of participation in those breakfast programs.

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