Students who rarely ate breakfast on school days achieved lower GCSE grades than those who ate breakfast frequently, according to a new study.
Researchers, from the University of Leeds, have for the first time demonstrated a link between eating breakfast and GCSE performance for secondary school students in the UK.
Adding together all of a student’s exam results, they found that students who said they rarely ate breakfast achieved nearly two grades lower than those who rarely missed their morning meal.
The research is published today in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.
Lead researcher Dr Katie Adolphus, from the University of Leeds’ School of Psychology, said: “Our study suggests that secondary school students are at a disadvantage if they are not getting a morning meal to fuel their brains for the start of the school day.
“The UK has a growing problem of food poverty, with an estimated half a million children arriving at school each day too hungry to learn. Previously we have shown that eating breakfast has a positive impact on children’s cognition.
“This research suggests that poor nutrition is associated with worse results at school.”
The Government in England run a national, means-tested free school lunch programme accessible to all students, but there is no equivalent for breakfast.