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How many children skip breakfast?

Mary Mullen
Nutrition & Dietetics
Despite the proven benefits of eating breakfast, breakfast skipping is skyrocketing. In 1965, 5 percent of 11- to 14-year-olds and 12 percent of 15- to 18-year-olds skipped breakfast. Today, around 20 percent of 9- to-13-year-old children and 36 percent of 14- to 18-year-olds skip breakfast. Why are so many kids hopping out of bed and running on fumes instead of fuel? Two frequent excuses are they don’t have time for breakfast and they’re not hungry when they get up.
Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

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Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

In a world of fast food, supersized sodas, and televised temptations, this guide shows how to buck the obesity trend currently in the national spotlight—and have fun doing it. Using a family...
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrics
Too many children skip breakfast or simply eat an inadequate breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal as it gives us the energy we need to start the day.

A good breakfast should include calories that we use quickly like carbohydrates and calories that we can use later like protein. The biggest mistake people make is not adding protein to their breakfast and that can cause midmorning binge eating. Adding chopped nuts to your cereal or peanut butter to your jelly and toast are two easy ways of adding a little protein, if you do not have time to cook breakfast.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
A survey done by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally known as the American Dietetic Association) has found many children are snacking frequently but are skipping breakfast -- a meal that contains nutrients crucial to development and health. Results are from the 2010 Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

Research shows that malnutrition is a serious concern for many U.S. children, regardless of their weight, and if children are skipping breakfast, a meal with higher nutrient content it can affect the ability to learn, and behavior and development.

Studies have linked children who skip breakfast to higher rates of absenteeism, tardiness, poor attention to tasks and reduced test scores. The 2010 survey revealed that breakfast is not eaten all of the time by 42 percent of Caucasian children, 59 percent of African-American children and 42 percent of Hispanic children. Additionally, 12 percent of Caucasian, 18 percent of African-American and 12 percent of Hispanic children reported never or rarely having breakfast.

Skipped meals, according to the survey results, are often supplemented through snacking. Over half of the respondents (56.7 percent of Caucasian children, 57.8 percent of African-American children and 59.1 percent of Hispanic children) reported eating directly after school most of the time or all of the time. Children also report snacking in the evening after dinner (26 percent of Caucasian children, 26.3 percent of African-American children and 24.3 percent of Hispanic children) or while watching television (23.1 percent of Caucasian children, 30.1 percent of African-American children and 23.8 percent of Hispanic children) either all of the time or most of the time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.