One phrase that most individuals have heard in their lifetime is, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” As a college student, I find the idea of waking up early enough to grab breakfast prior to class very unappealing. On the other hand, research has shown, missing this important component of your day could be jeopardizing your academic performance
While researching this topic, two questions came to mind. My first question was whether eating breakfast helps college students’ perform better on exams? And my second question was how much of a positive difference does eating breakfast make in college students’ academic performances?
Gregory Phillips, a researcher at Blinn College, set out to answer the questions stated above. In this study, Phillips gathered a group of 1,259 college students and asked the group whether or not they had eaten breakfast on the morning before their second exam of a specific class. Whether or not the students had eaten breakfast was considered the independent variable. Only about 65% of students stated that they had eaten breakfast that morning.
When collecting information on the dependent variable–exam performance–Phillips waited until the students were taking their second exams to compare the results of those students who had eaten breakfast and those who had not. The reason that Phillips chose the second exam to collect data was in an attempt to eliminate potential third confounding variables, such as adjusting to a new teacher or adjusting to the type of exams the students would be taking in that class. Some problems I noticed with this study were that Phillips never specified if all of the students had the same teacher or whether the exams were given at the same time of day.. A different professor could have a substantial effect on the scores between classes and differing exam times could change the impact of the breakfast meal.
In the write up of his findings, Phillips talked about some of the limiting factors that he faced while conducting his study. The first thing that Philips mentioned was that he did not know what the students had for breakfast. The students were asked if they had eaten breakfast prior to the exam, not what they had eaten for breakfast. Because this was an observational study, Phillips was restricted from telling individuals what to eat for breakfast.
After analyzing the data, I feel confident in concluding that the consumption of breakfast does indeed have a positive effect on how well students perform in the classroom. Despite a few minor variables that could have impacted the results of the study, the positive effects were undeniable. It was quite apparent that a full stomach in the morning is positively correlated with a better performance in an academic setting.