According to a survey, ten percent of elementary students leave the house in the morning without breakfast. This is the result of a representative survey by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy among parents commissioned by the discounter Lidl.
Extrapolated to the nearly three million primary school children in Germany, around 300,000 children are affected. Municipalities and countries should intervene to help, say the German teachers’ association and child rights experts of SPD.
In addition to the children who come to school on an empty stomach, there are about as many children (9 percent), who have breakfast alone at home in the morning.
“Unfortunately, the results of this study are in line with the experiences of many local teachers,” said Heinz-Peter Meidinger, teacher association president of the German Press Agency. On the one hand, there is a growing group of helicopter parents, who continue to track their kids over 20 kilometers, and on the other hand, there are more and more parents who hardly care about the well-being of their children.
“If schools, with the support of the rural and local authorities, have an emergency breakfast for such cases, that certainly makes sense,” he continued. In the past, there had been school milk and school fruit everywhere in some federal states.
Susann Rüthrich (SPD), chairwoman of the children’s commission of the Bundestag, told the German press agency: “whatever different reasons it may be that children sit without a healthy breakfast in school – they themselves can not help it.” She demanded basic child protection if parents did not have the money or family counseling if they lacked knowledge. Children should be enabled to grow healthy and eat well at school, especially in old age, according to Rüthrich. More than half of the surveyed parents (53 percent) say that nutrition is more important at school and that their children are taught more about healthy eating.
The green child rights expert Katja Döring told the DPA: “A good and healthy breakfast should be a matter of course for all children.” Most parents would know that. However, it is not always easy to implement in the often hectic everyday life. “Some communities are now funding breakfast in elementary schools, which is also free for children from poor families, and these approaches need to be developed.”
The FDP politician Matthias Seestern-Pauly, also a member of the Children’s Commission, said: “The survey describes an intolerable condition, we need a new cooperation of school, state aid and parents. If children are at risk or unable to learn properly in their health, schools, parents and society must work together to find solutions.” The Children’s Commission is a subcommittee in the Parliament dedicated to the rights of children and young people.
According to the Institute, more than 1000 mothers and fathers were interviewed for the study who have at least one elementary age child. Most (53 percent) of breakfast are the most important meal for elementary school children compared to lunch and dinner.