Dairy co-operative Arla has joined forces with charity Magic Breakfast to raise awareness about childrens hunger as a reported four million UK youngsters go without food each morning.
In a bid to highlight the growing food security emergency, the charity partners held a No Breakfast, Breakfast Meeting for MPs and members of the House of Lords to demonstrate the importance of sustenance on our mental abilities.
One half of the group were given a healthy breakfast while the rest were left empty handed. Guests were then asked to perform a series of cognitive tasks, giving them a glimpse into the physical, social, and emotional impact of missing out on a breakfast.
The results of the challenges, designed by behavioural science expert Dr Simon Moore, revealed that those deprived of breakfast were up to 80 per cent more likely to fail the tasks that included the buzz wire challenge and stoop tests.
Unsurprisingly, those who had gone without nourishment complained they found it difficult to concentrate, and hard to fully engage with others attending because they were simply too hungry or distracted by their rumbling stomach.
Dr Moore said: When solely considering adult behaviour, the effects that a continued lack of breakfast has can severely impact cognitive, social and physical functioning.However, when shifting this focus to a much younger development group, ie, children, the effects also have huge impacts on growth, social interaction and have been shown to provide a barrier to positive and effective learning experiences.
These crucial early years in a childs life are fundamental to their future cognitive and physical development, which is why raising such awareness, like the No Breakfast, Breakfast event, hopefully brings about the urgent action that is required.
Rachel Campbell, Arla brand and sustainability director said:No child should ever have to start the day hungry and with the number of children facing morning hunger only set to increase with the ongoing rise in living costs, it is essential urgent action is taken. That is why we have joined forces with those in power, to raise awareness of the issue and to back the provision of freebreakfast for children who need it the most, so every child can start each day with the essential nutrients needed to grow and fuel learning.
Chief executive of Magic Breakfast Lindsey Macdonald said: Millions of children and young people across the UK risk starting their school day without breakfast. The cost-of-living crisis has plunged even more children into food insecurity so now is the time for immediate change. A free school breakfast is a cost-effective investment in our childrens learning with immediate and long-term benefits to society - thats why we are calling on the Government to act and ensure free school breakfasts are equally offered to all children who need it.
To date, the partnership between Arla and Magic Breakfast, which began in 2020, has seen Arla provide more than 950,000 milk donations (or enough to fill almost 9.5 million bowls of cereal) to schools across the UK.