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Diet & Health : Body Weight Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Eating breakfast linked to lower BMI in adolescents
By David Liu, Ph. D.
Mar 3, 2008 - 11:25:03 AM

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MONDAY MARCH 3, 2008 ( -- Eating breakfast may help children maintain a healthy body weight, according to a study published in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.


The study merely suggests such a possibility because it could not prove that the observed lower body mass indexes in those who ate breakfast were actually caused by eating breakfast, meaning that other factors may be involved.


The study showed the children who ate breakfast more frequently were less likely to have a high BMI and the frequency of eating breakfast was inversely associated with BMI in a dose-dependent manner.


A number of observational studies have already linked breakfast habits to body weight in children and adolescents, according to the background information presented in the study report.   And most if not all studies tended to suggest that the more often children eat breakfast, the less likely they gain excess weight.


In the United States, an estimated 12 to 34 percent of children and adolescents regularly skip breakfast and the rate is found on the rise, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota who claimed no conflict of interest in conducting the research.


The study initially involved in 4746 students in public middle and high schools in the Minneapolis/ St Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. 2216 adolescents completed the surveys in 1998 to 1999 and 2003 to 2004 for their eating habits and weight statuses.


The researchers found analysis results derived from data from two survey periods showed inverse associations between the breakfast frequency and the BMI were largely independent of all considered confounding and dietary factors.   And the more often the children ate breakfast, the lower BMI they obtained.


Mark A. Pereira, PhD and colleagues concluded that "Although experimental studies are needed to verify whether the association between breakfast and body weight is of a causal nature, our findings support the importance of promoting regular breakfast consumption among adolescents. Future studies should further examine the role of breakfast habits among youth who are particularly concerned about their weight."


Overweight and obesity has become commonly seen among children and adolescents.   The researchers suggested that weight-related concerns affect breakfast frequency, which in turn affects dietary quality and appetite control and further affects the energy intake and bodyweight status.   It is generally believed that those who skip breakfast could end up eating whatever snacks which are likely less healthy than breakfast.



For more information on the study, read the study report

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