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The changing role of Australian primary schools in providing breakfast to students: a qualitative study


Jose, K and Vandenberg, M and Williams, J and Abbott-Chapman, J and Venn, A and Smith, KJ, The changing role of Australian primary schools in providing breakfast to students: a qualitative study, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 31, (1) pp. 58-67. ISSN 1036-1073 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Australian Health Promotion Association

DOI: doi:10.1002/hpja.259


Issue addressed: In recent years state governments throughout Australia have provided significant funding to support the expansion of school breakfast programs (SBPs), in response to concerns about children arriving at school hungry. This study investigated how schools have responded to the growing expectation that they provide breakfast for students.

Methods: This qualitative study draws on case studies of five Australian primary schools that operate SBPs. Interviews or focus groups were conducted with 78 children, parents, staff, volunteers and funders and data underwent thematic analysis.

Results: Three key themes were identified; Adjusting to the changing role of schools, SBPs reflecting the school's culture, Schools as an alternative or additional site for breakfast. Some staff and parents expressed unease about SBPs shifting responsibility for breakfast provision from parents to schools but were committed to supporting vulnerable students as part of the broader school culture. SBPs were found to provide an alternative or additional site for breakfast consumption for many children not experiencing food insecurity.

Conclusion: The expectation that schools provide breakfast has created some challenges and tensions that have not been fully resolved. The adoption of an inclusive approach, undertaken to ensure students were not stigmatised for attendance, had resulted in concerns about the resources used by the programs as well as over-consumption of breakfast by some students.

So What?: Increasingly, Australian schools are providing breakfast for students. Concerns about shifting responsibility and over-consumption could be addressed if schools were given more advice on program management by government and non-government funding bodies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:school, breakfast, children, child health, school health, health promotion, qualitative
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health promotion
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Neonatal and child health
UTAS Author:Jose, K (Dr Kim Jose)
UTAS Author:Vandenberg, M (Ms Miriam Vandenberg)
UTAS Author:Abbott-Chapman, J (Professor Joan Abbott-Chapman)
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
UTAS Author:Smith, KJ (Dr Kylie Smith)
ID Code:132921
Year Published:2020 (online first 2019)
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-05-28
Last Modified:2020-05-26
Downloads:109 View Download Statistics

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