The KickStart Breakfast programme was established as a partnership between Fonterra and Sanitarium. The programme runs KickStart Breakfast Clubs, where breakfast food is provided to primary aged students.
In 2013, Government funding allowed KickStart to be offered five days per week instead of two, and to all schools and kura decile 1-10, not just decile 1-4.
This study links data on the uptake if the KickStart Breakfast programme with administrative to data to analyse if there are any improvements in oral health and bone health for students.
Findings included that students enrolled in schools and kura with higher uptake of KickStart – measured in terms of the average number of breakfasts served per student per week across three school years – are significantly less likely than their peers to have hospital outpatient visits for dental surgery.
One additional KickStart breakfast per student per week taken up by a school or kura receiving the programme is associated with a substantial reduction in the proportion of students with a dental surgery outpatient visit (about one-sixth).
It wasn’t possible for the study to draw conclusions about how much this reduction was due to KickStart alone. Many other programmes offering food and other resources in schools and kura were expanding alongside KickStart.
However, the breakfasts may have improved the quality of students’ diets and decreased consumption of sugary food and drinks. This would suggest the potential for wider benefits including reduced obesity, improvements in learning, and reductions in health disparities.