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Authors

  1. Koohdani, Fariba PhD
  2. Meshkani, Zahra Sadat PhD
  3. Karbakhsh, Mojgan MD, MPH
  4. Sheibaniasl, Narges MD
  5. Sotoudeh, Gity PhD
  6. Lesan, Shirin PhD
  7. Dabiran, Soheila MD, MPH

Abstract

This study intends to determine the effect of school midmorning snacks on cognitive functions among young male students coming from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, who presumably have breakfast before coming to school. We hypothesized that school midmorning snacks can provide better cognitive functions among students coming from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. A comparative observational study was designed. Main data were collected by observation or interview. Two groups of 12- to 13-year-old male students were randomly selected (25 students who have been receiving a midmorning snack for 6 months and 32 students who have not) from schools with similar neighborhoods and socioeconomic backgrounds. Main outcome measures were the effects of school midmorning snack programs on students' cognitive functions including learning, short-term visual and auditory memory, and also selective attention and recall tests for high-socioeconomic-status students. Midmorning snack program was an independent variable. The objectives of the present study were analyzed using t test and Mann-Whitney U test for quantitative variables and [chi]2 or Fisher exact tests for qualitative variables. Differences were tested at the .05 level. The students with midmorning snack received more calories and nutrients from breakfast plus midmorning snack (P < .005), and their test scores of learning (P < .001), recall (P = .006), and selective attention (P = .042) were significantly higher. They performed better in auditory and visual memory tests (P < .001, P = .028). We conclude that the schools' midmorning snack programs have a beneficial effect on cognitive performance and overall quality of intake even of students coming from higher socioeconomic background. It explores the value of midmorning snack in the school setting.