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Are Students More Behaved After Eating During School Hours?

AAEA Fellow releases new research in AJAE

Have you ever noticed that you are more likely to get angry over the little things when you are feeling hungry? If so, you are not alone. In fact, this happens to enough of us that “hangry” was introduced as a formal word into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018. Thus, it stands to reason that children who begin the day with a nutritious breakfast might have better self-control in school.

In the new article “School Breakfast and Student Behavior” published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Andres Cuadros-Meñaca and Michael R. Thomsen from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr. from Texas A&M University, set out to answer the question of whether children’s behavior improved after their schools started delivering breakfast after the bell.

Cuadros Menaca says, “The study found compelling evidence that student behavior improved when their schools started breakfast after the bell. Children in these schools were less likely to be cited for any misconduct infractions and those being cited received fewer citations after their schools provided breakfast after the bell. This was especially true among lower-income children and minority children.”

Cuadros Menaca continues, “From the perspective of schools and districts, breakfast after the bell is a cost-effective way to improve student behavior, improve the reach of child nutrition programs, and create environments more conducive to learning. The costs of BAB are primarily in the form of food costs from the additional breakfasts served, which will be offset by additional USDA meal reimbursements going to school nutrition programs.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
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(414) 918-3190