Health and Wellbeing

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Karen Quinn who is working in the Health centre each Thursday and Friday.

Karen commenced with us at the beginning of this year and whilst she is new to the role of School Nurse, her experience working in Paediatrics for almost 20 years within hospital settings and most recently, Community Nursing, stands her in good stead to be a knowledgably and vibrant contributor to both our Health Centre and wider Wellbeing team.  Karen is also a mum of 3 teenage children and describes her life as busy but wonderful. 

Karen Shares with us

“I have already met so many wonderful students, parents/carers in my short time at Pulteney.  I always welcome a friendly hello, chat, the door is always open. I look forward to meeting more Pulteney families in the future and learning more about our caring community”.

Speaking of teenagers, this week I thought I would include some reminders on the importance of our children eating breakfast.  We regularly see older students presenting in the Health centre who “skip” breakfast and I myself have observed with my own teenagers and recent routine changes breakfast can be forgotten entirely or consumed closer to lunch time.

So, as our students head towards another busy term and our senior student mid-year exams, it’s crucial for them to eat a healthy breakfast and us to!

Breakfast - What do the experts say? Is it the most important meal of the day?

Breakfast literally means to break fast – it’s considered an important meal because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishing the body’s supply of glucose and other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to keep up energy levels throughout the day. 


Breakfast-type foods, cereals for example are often fortified with nutrients such as folate, iron, B vitamins and fibre which are essential to maintain health and vitality.

Cereal and bread products are the most popular choices for Australian children.  In some households’ fruit, eggs, rice and grains are popular choices.

Healthy meals with some protein and a low Glycemic Index (GI) are a great way to start the day – see recipes here - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/low-gi-breakfast

What are the current trends?

A recent report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2019) has found that one in seven school children are skipping a morning meal and missing out on the important benefits of breakfast. It's a worrying statistic given that eating breakfast has been linked with improved English and Maths skills in school children!

Trends include 

  • Going without breakfast becomes more prevalent with increasing age
  • Fatigue is reduced by the consumption of high-fibre breakfast foods.
  • Children who regularly skip breakfast are significantly heavier having a higher BMI than those who do eat breakfast.
  • Those whoeat an inadequate breakfast are more likely to make poor food choices for the rest of the day and in the long term.
  • A good breakfast has shown decreased hunger and such children are less likely to feel the need to snack during the day.
  • Dietary habits are developed for the long term.  These important dietary habits may also reduce their risk of many lifestyle related diseases, such as Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes. ( http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)

So why eat breakfast?

Firstly, it’s important to eat breakfast every day – A large Korean study (Iran J Public Health. 2013;42(1):25-32. Epub 2013 Jan 1.) found the following

“The frequency of breakfast consumption is positively correlated with academic performance in both male and female healthy adolescents”

Eating breakfast habitually has now also been formally linked to

“A positive effect on school performance, quality in school grades or achievement test scores particularly mathematics grades and arithmetic scores”

“On-task behaviour in the classroom, mainly in younger children <13 years”

“There’s more than 50 years of scientific evidence supporting the role of breakfast and better brain function in children, with the latest science linking breakfast with improved numeracy and literacy skills.

“Children who regularly eat breakfast cereal are also more likely to have a better diet overall, a healthier weight, and consume more essential nutrients in the long term” (http://www.abs.gov.au/censusatschool)

Sharon Bowering / Karen Quinn

Registered Nurses / School Nurses