Children who skip breakfast on a regular basis are likely to fall short for the day in getting all their recommended essential nutrients, a new UK study from Kings College London suggests.
Kids who skipped breakfast every day were less likely to get enough iron, calcium, iodine and folate when compared to kids who ate the morning meal every day.
Though older children were more likely to skip breakfast, the day’s nutrient shortfall was greater when younger children missed the morning meal.
It may, therefore, be particularly important to ensure that this younger age group eats a healthy breakfast, either at home or at a school breakfast club, said the researchers.
About the study
Researchers examined four-day food diaries for almost 1,700 children ages 4 to 18. The information was taken from a yearly national diet and nutrition survey between 2008 and 2012.
Breakfast was defined as consuming more than 100 calories between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Overall, about 31 percent of kids ate breakfast daily, 17 percent never ate breakfast, and the rest ate it some days and skipped it on others. In this group, the researchers also compared differences in nutrient intake by the same child on different days.
Girls, older kids more likely to skip breakfast daily
The team found that 6.5 percent of kids aged 4 to 10 missed breakfast every day, compared with nearly 27 percent of 11-to-18-year-olds.
Girls were more likely to miss breakfast than boys, and household income tended to be higher for families of children who ate breakfast every day.
Iron, calcium, iodine, folate are nutrients of concern
More than 30 percent of kids who skipped breakfast did not get enough iron during the day, compared to less than 5 percent of kids who ate breakfast.
Around 20 percent of breakfast skippers were low on calcium and iodine, compared to roughly 3 percent of kids who ate breakfast.
About 7 percent of children who skipped breakfast were low in folate, compared to none in the groups that ate breakfast.
Fat intake went up when kids skipped breakfast, the researchers also found.
Kids who didn’t eat breakfast ended up eating the same number or fewer total calories as kids who ate breakfast every day.
To help older kids eat breakfast every day, the researchers recommend getting them involved in making breakfast, maybe even preparing something the night before if time is short in the morning.
They noted that there is a wealth of healthy, simple and tasty recipe ideas available on social media that kids can choose from, adding that kids might even like to post a picture of their creations online.
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