Analysis of the Article The Effect of Breakfast on Academic Performance among High School Students in Abu Dhabi

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The journal research article, titled “The Effect of Breakfast on Academic Performance among High School Students in Abu Dhabi,” was written by Zainab Taha and Ayesha S. Rashed from the College of Natural and Health Sciences at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. This article provides an experiment that responded to the question of how important eating breakfast every morning is to high school students and how breakfast, or the first meal of the day, impacts a high schooler’s academic performance, specifically focusing on students in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

This topic is widely relevant across the world, as researchers still debate on whether breakfast intake increases, decreases, or has no correlation with the academic performance of children and teenagers. While there is a great amount of research done on the effects of breakfast on cognitive performance, comparatively few studies have been performed to examine the impacts of breakfast on academic performance. In response, this research was conducted to analyze how breakfast intake impacts the academic performance of female high schoolers in Abu Dhabi and to provide suggestions to increase healthy breakfast consumption (Taha & Rashed, 2017). The research hypothesized that breakfast intake and academic performance have a direct relationship, where as one increases, the other will increase as well.

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First, 150 participants, all of whom were female students between fifteen and nineteen years old from two private schools in Abu Dhabi that had school hours from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM, were asked to participate in a self-reported questionnaire (Taha & Rashed, 2017). 130 of the 150 initial participants were used for the study, as the remaining students had not completed the questionnaire. The questionnaire asked for the participants’ age, BMI, breakfast consumption, school grade level, and demographic information (Taha & Rashed, 2017). The participants’ academic performance was measured by the students’ average final exam grades of all the subjects studied in their first semester of the 2015-2016 school year (Taha & Rashed, 2017).

Of the 130 participants, averaging at an age of about 16 years, a weight of 56.2 kilograms, a height of 160.21 centimeters, and a BMI of 21.79, 81 students consumed breakfast at least 5 times a week, while the remaining 49 students frequently skipped breakfast or consumed it fewer than 5 times a week (Taha & Rashed, 2017). After collecting the results of the participants’ final exam grades, the Pearson correlation coefficient between breakfast consumption and final exam grades was found to be 0.455, and the p-value of the results was found to be less than 0.001, indicating a high significance as the chance for random factor to alter the results of the correlations is extremely low. Through an ANOVA test, a test for the amount of variation between groups, it was found that breakfast intake had a much greater association with students’ final exam scores than other independent variables, including school class grade, age, and BMI. Of the students who ate breakfast at least five times a week, 51.28% received an A, 41.02% received a B, 7.69% received a C, and 1.28% received a D. Of the students who ate breakfast fewer than five times a week, 30.76% received an A, 30.76% received a B, 28.84% received a C, and 9.61% received a D. The results of this research support the hypothesis, as the students’ breakfast intake directly correlates with their academic performance, measured by the average of their final exam grades.

A strong correlation exists between breakfast consumption and academic performance, in which as breakfast intake increases, so does academic performance; therefore, adolescents should avoid skipping breakfast and should be encouraged to eat healthy foods in a regular meal pattern to increase their academic performance. This research has further reinforced my perspective on the pivotal role of breakfast and has encouraged me to continue eating healthy breakfasts to increase my academic performance. Although the research provides examples of external independent factors that may have skewed the outcome of the experiment and reasons for why those factors were not significant, it did not cover all of the factors, as the article explicitly mentions that the research did not take into the disorders and health problems of the students, which may have impacted the results of the study. However, the research does attempt to control and minimize the external independent factors in order to produce the best and most accurate results.

Additionally, the study only recruited female high schoolers, so the research may be over-generalizing the results across the diverse world. While this study contributes to research interest in the effects of breakfast on academic performance, more research should be conducted to further strengthen the association between breakfast consumption and academic performance. Future research should address and emphasize the insignificance of other independent factors, such as physical disabilities and mental disorder, and should incorporate a larger sample size of participants, including male students in order to ensure that the results of the experiment are not skewed.

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