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Food Trends: Breakfast Builds Healthier Bodies

Does eating breakfast really make you healthier? A recent study says it does.

Children and adolescents that eat breakfast have healthier nutrient profiles and a lower prevalence of obesity, according to a recent study from Baylor College of Medicine, Louisiana State University AgCenter and Texas Woman's University, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study looked at cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1996-2006) from 9,600 children and teens between the ages of nine and 18, reports Consumer Insight Inc.

Overall, 20 percent of children skipped breakfast skippers, 35.9 percent consumed ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals, and 44 percent ate other kinds of breakfast. For teens, 32 percent skipped breakfast, 25.3 percent consumed RTE cereals, and 43.2 percent consumed other breakfast. White teens and children were less likely to skip breakfast than teens and children from other groups; few sex differences were found.

Children that ate RTE cereals had higher intakes of vitamins A, C, B-6 and B-12; thiamin; riboflavin; niacin; folate; calcium; phosphorous; magnesium; iron; zinc; and potassium. Compared to breakfast skippers, children eating other kinds of breakfast had lower intakes of those vitamins and minerals, but higher intakes of sodium. In teens, RTE cereal consumers had lower sugar intakes, lower saturated fat intakes, higher fiber intakes, and higher intakes of vitamins and minerals.

Although past studies voiced concerns about added sugars from ready-to-eat cereals, this study actually found that percentages of energy from carbohydrate and total sugars were higher in ready-to-eat cereal consumers than in breakfast skippers or those who ate a breakfast other than cereal. And eating ready-to-eat cereal as a regular breakfast option might even be more beneficial than eating other kinds of breakfast.

Breakfast skippers had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those that ate RTE cereal and had a lower BMI than those that eat other kinds of breakfast. In addition, breakfast skippers had a higher waist circumference than breakfast eaters, and a higher prevalence of obesity. Interestingly, the prevalence of obesity was also higher for those consuming other kinds of breakfast over ready-to-eat cereals.