Sending children to school well-rested and with a nutritious breakfast will help them learn better during the day, according to numerous studies.
The Churchill County School District was one of the first to offer a breakfast program 10 years ago, said Dawn Rodriquez, food services manager, and the nutritious morning meals are still popular.
"Across the country, the participation in breakfast programs is about 25 percent of the lunch programs. We exceed that," she said.
Breakfast is available at all Fallon schools. Students can eat anytime before the bell rings to begin classes, Rodriquez said.
Fallon residents who meet certain income guidelines can qualify for free lunches and breakfasts at Churchill County schools.
A family of four that earns less than $35,798 a year is eligible for free meals for their children. A single mother or father can earn up to $17,705 a year.
The regular price for lunch at school is $1.50 for elementary students, $1.75 at the junior high school, and $2 at the high school. A breakfast costs $1.
A 2002 study published in the "Annals of Nutrition Metabolism" tested 97 inner-city pupils over six months to determine if eating a good breakfast had any effect on learning and behavior.
The study revealed that the children given breakfast showed increased math grades, had better attendance and that behavior improved.
Other studies show that students who eat a healthy breakfast exhibit improved energy levels, concentrate better, and are less moody.
Adequate sleep is also emerging as a factor in how well children learn, especially in junior and senior high school.
A psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston conducted a sleep study using almost 2,500 children between 11-14 who lived in Chicago. Jean Rhodes reported that children who did not receive enough sleep were more depressed, had lower self-esteem and lower grades.
Information about the study, funded by the Carnegie Foundation and Spencer Foundation, was posted on the ScienCentralNews Web site.
Experts recommend 10 hours of sleep a night for school-age children to function well in class.
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