Submitted to: Nutrition Today
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2004
Publication Date: 2/1/2004
Citation: Nicklas, T., O'Neil, C., Myers, L. 2004. The importance of breakfast consumption to nutrition of children, adolescents, and young adults. Nutrition Today. 39(1):30-39.
Interpretive Summary: An Interpretive Summary Is Not Required
Technical Abstract: To present data from the Bogalusa Heart Study, a mixed cross-sectional and longitudinal investigation of cardiovascular risk factors and environmental determinants in a pediatric population in Louisiana, and other reports delineating the impact of breakfast consumption on the nutrition of children, adolescents, and young adults. A 24-hour dietary recall method was used in interviews conducted in a biracial population of 1,254 children 10 years of age during six cross-sectional surveys from 1973-1988 and in 504 young adults 19-28 years of age from 1988-1991 in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and in a multiracial sample of 711 ninth-grade students (mean age 14.8 years) in 1994 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Approximately 16% of 10-year-olds, 19% of 15-year-olds, and 37% of 19- to 28-year-olds reported skipping breakfast. During the first three cross-sectional survey periods of the Bogalusa Heart Study, the tendency for 10-year-old children to skip breakfast increased. With the introduction of a school breakfast, the percentage of children who skipped breakfast fell from 30% to 13%. A significantly higher percentage of children who skipped breakfast did not meet two-thirds of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for essential vitamins and minerals, compared to those who consumed breakfast. Among 15-year-olds, 14% of those who ate breakfast reported taking a vitamin-mineral supplement at that time. However, adolescents who ate breakfast, regardless of supplement use, had vitamin and mineral intakes that were closer to the RDA than those of teenagers who skipped breakfast. The school breakfast consumed by the 10-year-olds contributed significantly more energy, protein, and carbohydrate than breakfast eaten at home. Ready-to-eat cereals, including milk, made a significant contribution to the nutritional quality of the diets of the children and young adults. Breakfast consumption has been identified as an important factor in the nutritional well-being of children, adolescents, and young adults. Greater effort is needed to encourage the consumption of breakfast in order to improve the nutritional well-being of children, adolescents and young adults.