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School Lunch Program hits 50

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is celebrating a birthday — and offering $6.8 million in gifts.

During the week of March 7, USDA commemorates the 50th anniversary of the School Breakfast Program, with particular emphasis on school breakfast. In 2014 alone, more than 2.3 billion breakfasts were served by more than 90,000 schools and child care site.

The ag department says research using its data finds that students with access to school breakfast tend to have a better overall diet and a lower body mass index than did nonparticipants. Other research has shown that students who consume breakfast make greater strides on standardized tests, pay attention and behave better in class, and are less frequently tardy, absent or visiting the nurse's office. For more information, click here.

Now, USDA will award up to $6.8 million in training grants to help nutritional efforts at schools and child care sites. Grants through this program are intended to conduct and evaluate training, nutrition education, and technical assistance activities to support the implementation of USDA nutrition standards for snacks and meals, like school breakfast. For more information, click here.

March is National Nutrition Month, and USDA highlights its overall nutritional efforts here.