SHEEPSHEAD BAY - New York City public schools rank among the bottom when it comes to students taking advantage of breakfast programs, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Food Research and Action Center reports only 29.1 percent of children are eating breakfast at New York City schools. In Newark, N.J., 94 percent are eating breakfast. Portland, Ore. tops the list with 98 percent of students eating breakfast.

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger rallied with officials on the steps of City Hall, saying the results are unacceptable. The group is suggesting students eat breakfast in the classroom, rather than before school starts.

According to the coalition, one in five students comes from a home without adequate food. Advocates argue that's why school meal programs are vital.

During the 2003 ? 2004 school year, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced all children would eat breakfast for free. Last year, officials held a student poster contest to encourage program participation.

The coalition believes more still needs to be done, but members admit the city has increased participation by 6 million in less than four years.

Related information:New York City Department of Education