herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

One in seven pupils goes without lunch at school every day

ONE in seven youngsters go without lunch on a typical day, research suggests.

Teenage girls aged 14 and 15 are among the worst offenders, with nearly one in five admitting they did not have any lunch.

The study also suggests that rising numbers of pupils are skipping lunch.

The findings come from a report which questioned more than 83,000 youngsters, aged 10 to 15, in 2010 on a variety of topics, including what they eat for lunch and breakfast.

In total, 13.5pc of boys and girls in First and Second Year (aged 12-13 and 14-15) said they did not eat lunch when asked the question, "what did you do for lunch yesterday?"

This ranged from 10pc among First Year boys to 18pc among Second Year girls.



Doubled

Researchers suggested that the numbers not eating at lunchtime has more than doubled over the past 25 years.

In 1986 around 5pc of the youngsters questioned said they did not have anything for lunch. Among Second Year girls, this figure was 10pc in 1986.

Asked what they had eaten for breakfast that morning, almost one in five (19.8pc) said they had skipped the first meal of the day. This ranged from just 12pc among Fifth Class boys and girls (aged 10-11) to 31pc of Second Year girls revealing they had not eaten that morning.

Expert Claire Rick said: "Skipping lunch doesn't just leave pupils feeling hungry and tired -- it really does affect their performance in the classroom. Our research [by the Schools Health Education Unit in Britain] shows children are far more able to concentrate and focus with their teachers after a healthy meal at lunchtime."

hnews@herald.ie

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