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Experts: Breakfast is important for children
There are several reasons why children can neglect their breakfast. For example, the children have not slept enough and are therefore difficult to get out of bed, so that those affected often no longer have time for a decent breakfast. Of course there are also children who are simply not hungry in the morning or parents who do not have time in the morning to make breakfast for their children. Researchers have now found that if children skip breakfast regularly, they have insufficient nutrients for growth and development.
The researchers at King’s College London found that children who skip breakfast can inhibit their growth and development. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
Breakfast contains many important nutrients
If children eat their breakfast every day, this leads to a higher daily intake of important key nutrients such as folate (folate is important for the development of genetic material), calcium, iron and iodine (important for the development of thyroid function) compared to not children having breakfast, the researchers explain.
Experts analyzed the data from more than 1,600 children for their study
For the study, the research team used so-called food diaries, which were part of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Program. This program examined a group of 802 children aged four to ten years and a group of 884 children aged eleven to 18 years from 2008 to 2012.
Over 31 percent of children without breakfast suffered from low food intake
Nutrient intake was assessed based on the available database for its health effects. The experts understood breakfast to mean when more than 100 calories were consumed between six and nine o'clock. The researchers found in their study that around 31.5 percent of children who did not eat breakfast had an iron nutrient intake that was too low compared to 4.4 percent of children who ate breakfast.
Children eat more folic acid, calcium, vitamin C and iodine through breakfast
In addition, 19 percent of children who did not eat breakfast had too little calcium, compared to 2.9 percent of children who had breakfast. 21.5 percent of children without breakfast had too little iodine compared to 3.3 percent of children who had breakfast. None of the children who ate breakfast daily had such a low folate intake that it was below the recommended nutrient intake. But 7.3 percent of children without breakfast had too little folate. The analysis showed that on days with breakfast in younger children (four to ten years) a significantly increased intake of folic acid, calcium, vitamin C and iodine was found.
Some influences may have affected the results
The results could have been influenced by the influence of the parents. There is also the possibility that the so-called nutrition diaries, particularly in the case of older children, contained incorrect information, the authors restrict. Some analyzes were also repeated to check implausible results in the energy supply.
Breakfast the key element in healthy child nutrition?
“This study shows that breakfast is a key element for parents when it comes to ensuring that children get the nutrients they need,” said author Dr. Gerda Pot from King’s College London. Further studies that looked at specific foods and the quality of their nutrition could identify effects of different types of breakfast. It could also determine what breakfast children eat at what age, the experts explain.
Girls eat breakfast less often than boys
In addition, the study found that 6.5 percent of four to ten year old children neglect breakfast every day. Among the eleven to 18 year old participants, this value was almost 27 percent and girls generally missed breakfast more often than boys, the scientists explain. The children of families with higher incomes were also found to eat breakfast more regularly every day. (as)