FRIDAY, March 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Free school breakfasts may help low-income students do better in the classroom, a new study suggests.
Students at elementary schools that offered free breakfast had 25 percent better math grades, and similarly higher reading and science grades, than students at schools without free breakfast.
However, although the researchers found a link between schools that provide free morning meals and higher school performance, the study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The breakfasts were provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Breakfast Program.
The findings provide more evidence of the link between good nutrition and good grades, according to study author David Frisvold, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
"These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the subsidized breakfast program throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement," he said in a university news release.
The school breakfast program for low-income students was launched by the federal government in 1966.
The study was published online recently in the journal Public Economics.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more about student nutrition programs.