Alleviating Child Food Insecurity in Iowa by Expanding the Breakfast in the Classroom Initiative
In Iowa, one in six children live in food insecure households. However, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) ranked Iowa 48th in the nation for statewide participation in the National School Breakfast Program (SBP). During the 2011 to 2012 school year, Iowa served school breakfast to approximately 39 low-income students for every 100 low-income students served a school lunch. In addition to participation at schools that offer breakfast, adoption of the program by new schools is a major concern because there are currently 173 public elementary schools that do not participate in SBP. Low SBP participation in Iowa indicates a large potential for program expansion, which would leverage additional federal funds for local food assistance. This report examines current research and reports of SBP and case studies to identify participation barriers and propose possible solutions to expand and promote the adoption of the program. This study finds that the social stigma of SBP is the largest barrier for student participation and administrative support and implementation costs are the largest barriers to adoption and program expansion. Using three selection criteriapolitical feasibility, implementation feasibility, and effectivenessthis study argues that Alternative 4: Implementing Breakfast in the Classroom in more schools is the most optimal policy alternative. Current research shows that children who face food scarcity suffer both physical and mental trauma that diminish their intellectual capacities, physical health, and earning potential throughout their adult lives, inequities that often underlie social and economic conflict.
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