Examining Guidelines for School-Based Breakfast Programs in Canada: A Systematic Review of the Grey Literature

Can J Diet Pract Res. 2017 Jun 1;78(2):92-100. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2016-037. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


School breakfast programs are widespread and serve varying objectives regarding youth health promotion. Evidence-based guidelines for breakfast programs may be important in maximizing their effectiveness related to student outcomes, yet it is unclear what is available in Canada. A systematic review was conducted to identify and compare Canadian guidelines related to breakfast programs. Data sources included grey literature databases, customized search engines, targeted websites, and content expert consultations. Eligible guidelines met the following criteria: government and nongovernment sources at the federal and provincial/territorial levels, current version, and intended for program coordinators. Recommendations for program delivery were extracted, categorized, and mapped onto the 4 environments outlined in the ANGELO framework, and they were classified as "common" or "inconsistent" across guidelines. Fifteen sets of guidelines were included. No guidelines were available from federal or territorial governments and 4 provincial governments. There were few references to peer-reviewed literature within the guidelines and despite many common recommendations for program delivery, conflicting recommendations were also identified. Potential barriers to program participation, including a lack of consideration of allergies and other dietary restrictions, were identified. Future research should identify how guidelines are implemented and evaluate what effect their implementation has on program delivery and student outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breakfast*
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Environment
  • Food Safety
  • Food Services*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Politics
  • Schools*
  • Students*

Grant support