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Breakfast Habits, Nutritional Status, Body Weight, and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents

      Abstract

      Breakfast has been labeled the most important meal of the day, but are there data to support this claim? We summarized the results of 47 studies examining the association of breakfast consumption with nutritional adequacy (nine studies), body weight (16 studies), and academic performance (22 studies) in children and adolescents. Breakfast skipping is highly prevalent in the United States and Europe (10% to 30%), depending on age group, population, and definition. Although the quality of breakfast was variable within and between studies, children who reported eating breakfast on a consistent basis tended to have superior nutritional profiles than their breakfast-skipping peers. Breakfast eaters generally consumed more daily calories yet were less likely to be overweight, although not all studies associated breakfast skipping with overweight. Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance. Breakfast as part of a healthful diet and lifestyle can positively impact children’s health and well-being. Parents should be encouraged to provide breakfast for their children or explore the availability of a school breakfast program. We advocate consumption of a healthful breakfast on a daily basis consisting of a variety of foods, especially high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, and dairy products.
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      Biography

      G. C. Rampersaud is an assistant in Nutrition Research and Education, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville.

      Biography

      M. A. Pereira is an assistant professor, Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

      Biography

      B. L. Girard is director of Food and Nutrition Services, The School Board of Sarasota County, Osprey, FL.

      Biography

      J. Adams is president, Grain Foods Foundation, Ridgway, CO; at the time of the study, she was president, Wheat Foods Council, Parker, CO.

      Biography

      J. D. Metzl is an assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, and medical director, The Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes, Hospital for Special Surgery, Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.