Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Nutrition & Health Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Wanda Koszewski. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012.

Copyright (c) 2012 Elijah Dacy


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify youth attitudes, frequency of, and barriers for breakfast consumption and the use of available nutrition programs by youth living in poverty or food insecure households in a large three county metropolitan area. Methods: A phone survey was developed and tested in order to collect information on breakfast consumption habits and attitudes of children, targeted as food insecure. There were no incentives for persons to participate in the survey and all information gathered was kept in a secure place at the Center for Human Nutrition. Participants who were allowed to answer questions included parents/guardians of eligible children and teens who were old enough and able to answer for themselves. The answers were entered into a database with all personal identifiers removed, with the exception of zip codes for regional identification purposes. The data was then organized and analyzed. Results: Responses from parents/guardians to a 53-item survey were collected on 300 children and the data was broken down based on grade in school, number of school aged children, race, gender of respondent, and the county they live in. The data showed that those in need of assistance at breakfast were likely receiving the help they needed from assistance programs including Free/Reduced Breakfast, SNAP, WIC and TANF. Most of the youth from the survey ate breakfast or had it available to them, and there were few barriers for breakfast consumption. Conclusion: The data could be used to show the importance of programs such as Free/Reduced Breakfast to help those who are in the most need. Future studies dividing the children into sixth grade and younger and seventh grade and older may provide more accurate information on these group’s attitudes towards breakfast and allow for targeted strategies to be developed to increase breakfast consumption for these groups.

Adviser: Wanda Koszewski