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South Africans are Talking About Breakfast – National Nutrition Week (9 – 15 October) and World Food Day (16 October)

Despite the volume of evidence supplied by dietitians that a balanced breakfast is crucial to fuelling bodies and brains throughout the day, almost half of South Africans recently surveyed are still missing this meal. This and other breakfast facts gathered in a recent comprehensive national survey1 of breakfast habits and beliefs were revealed by Kellogg,
the brand behind the Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative, which feeds 25,000 South African learners every school day, who would otherwise go hungry. The release of the survey’s findings takes place just as both National Nutrition Week (9-15 October) and World Food Day 2015 (16 October) are about to be observed.

“In a month in which both of these initiatives highlight the need for good nutrition, the power of breakfast to assist in shaping our collective future should be on everybody’s mind,” says Jack Kruger, Kellogg’s Marketing Category Manager.

This year’s World Food Day focuses on breaking the cycle of rural poverty. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations marks World Food Day each year on 16 October. National Nutrition Week is an education campaign promoting healthy lifestyles through emphasising good nutrition to school communities (learners, school food handlers, teachers and parents) in order to emphasise nutrition knowledge, better food choices and the importance of physical activity.

The Need for Breakfast

The survey1 found that 77% believe eating breakfast is essential for everyone, yet in South Africa today, almost 1 out of 5 children are going to school hungry2 highlighting that we still have a long way to go before breakfast is part of every South African’s day.

Over 1200 adults were surveyed, and the bottom line is that while most believe in the power of breakfast, 39% are still not eating it. According to Kwazulu-Natal dietitian Kelly Francis even if breakfast isn’t missed when it is rushed, nutrition suffers.

Nearly half of the survey respondents say they feel hungry if they have not eaten breakfast by 10h00. And the survey found that people are generally aware of how they are negatively affected by breakfast’s absence.  More than half (52%) said they have more energy to take on the day when they do eat breakfast. When it comes to the importance of fuelling young bodies and brains, 88% said they believe breakfast helps to enhance children’s performance at school and 86% believe that breakfast enhances the ability for kids to play sports and be more physically active.

“Missing breakfast makes it very difficult for a child to meet his or her nutritional requirements of the day,” says Francis. “Inadequate energy intake, specifically the absence of breakfast, has been widely associated with suboptimal classroom performance3. Breakfast is associated with improved memory, which implies an improved retention of newly learned information. Retaining what is learned in the classroom maximises the outcome of education.”

“The nutrition received by the body dictates the level at which it can perform its work, sustain health and respond to stress,” says Francis. “Providing school learners with good nutrition enables them to meet the demands of both physical and mental development. Enhanced performance at school will result in an enhanced development and ultimately an enhanced outcome of education. Thriving at school requires a sharp mind, a healthy body and a positive mood. Good nutrition can positively influence a learner’s school experience in the academic, physical and social areas of education.”

“We believe in the power of breakfast and its impact on productivity throughout the whole day,” says Kruger.  For the second year running, Kellogg is helping tackle the problem of children without access to breakfast at home, by dishing up a breakfast of cereal and milk to 25 000 school children every school day in 2015, in four South African provinces – with the endorsement of the Department of Basic Education. The initiative is part of Kellogg’s global target: feeding 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks by 2016.

“We are pleased with the feedback we are getting from teachers, who tell us about the positive difference breakfast is making to their learners,” says Kruger. Consumers can help the Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative by purchasing Kellogg’s cereals with the Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days™ banner on the box: a percentage of the proceeds go towards the school feeding initiative.

“Beyond the breakfasts we are supplying to schools in the Breakfast for Better Days™ Initiative, our objective is also to actively promote good nutrition in schools and educate school communities through workshops with parents,” says Kruger. “This arms parents and learners alike with knowledge that helps in nutritious decision-making.”

“Good nutrition is about eating a healthy, well-balanced diet in order to nourish the body and allow it to perform at its best,” says Jenny Mayer, Gauteng dietitian. “This allows for an overall greater nutrient intake, improved energy levels and improved alertness and concentration in class. Learners are likely to feel happier, healthier and more energised in both body and mind.”

“A large aspect of healthy eating is the maintenance of stable blood glucose levels throughout the day,” says Francis. “After a night of fasting, available glucose for energy needs to be topped up with a breakfast meal.”

  

About Kellogg South Africa Company

Kellogg is the world’s leading cereal company. At Kellogg, we are driven to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. Our brands – Kellogg’s®, Corn Flakes, All-Bran®, Special K®, Rice Krispies®, Coco Pops®, Frosties®, Froot Loops®, Strawberry Pops®, Pringles® – nourish families so they can flourish thrive. Through our Breakfasts for Better Days® initiative, we provided 5 million servings of cereal and milk to South African school children at the end of 2014 and will provide another 5 million servings of cereal and milk by the end of 2015. To learn more about Kellogg, visit www.kelloggs.co.za or follow us on Twitter @KelloggsZA.

References

1 Ova2you National Breakfast Survey (2015)

2 Shisana O, Labadarios D, Rehle T, Simbayi L, Zuma K, Dhansay A, Reddy P, Parker W, Hoosain E, Naidoo P, Hongoro C, Mchiza Z, Steyn NP, Dwane N, Makoae M, Maluleke T, Ramlagan S, Zungu N, Evans MG, Jacobs L, Faber M, & SANHANES-1 Team (2013). South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1). Cape Town: HSRC Press.World_Hunger_Day-Infographic


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