Importance of  Breakfast


This Research Article has been written by Nutritionist Anum Nazir).She is Senior Lecturer in School of Nutritional sciences At University of Faisalabad).She is active worker for fight against hunger.Her credible work  is mentioned.

Importance of  Breakfast


Starting each day with breakfast is an important  habit  for  health  and  development  in  children and adolescents. Nevertheless several school children  are  used  to  skipping  breakfast,  thus  failing  to meet the recommended dietary allowances, i.e. for vitamins A, B-6 and D, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin,zinc, phosphorus and iron. Cross-sectional studies  have  reported  positive  association between  adipose  in  children  and  skipping  breakfast. Dietary omission in the morning has been linked  with  decreased  daily  total  energy  intake  and poor school performance. Children with low caloric consumption  showed  higher  rates  of  school  absenteeism and more psychological problems as compared to children with more adequate dietary intakes. A study documented the link between hunger and health problems during childhood and eating disorders. Breakfast omission in children exercising conflicts with  their  increased  energy  requirements. Energy  intake at breakfast is important in children exercising because the reserves of glucose in their body are low upon waking, and the demand by the central nervous system and  for  muscular  activity  is  high, hence, an  overnight and morning fasting might result in low levels of physical  activity.

The relationship between breakfast composition and cognitive performance was examined in elementary school children. Two experiments compared the effects of two common U.S. breakfast foods and no breakfast on children’s cognition. Using a within-participant design, once a week for 3 weeks, children consumed one of two breakfasts or no breakfast and then completed a battery of cognitive tests. The two breakfasts were instant oatmeal and ready-to-eat cereal, which were similar in energy, but varied in macro-nutrient composition, processing characteristics, effects on digestion and metabolism, and glycemic score. Results with 9 to 11 year-olds replicated previous findings showing that breakfast intake enhances cognitive performance, specially on tasks requiring processing of a complex visual exhibition. The results extend previous findings by showing differential effects of breakfast type. Boys and girls showed enhanced spatial memory and girls showed improved short-term memory after consuming oatmeal. Results with 6 to 8 year-olds also showed effects of breakfast type. Younger children had better relating memory and better auditory attention and girls exhibited better short-term memory after consuming oatmeal. Due to compositional differences in protein and fibre content, glycemic scores, and rate of digestion, oatmeal may provide a slower and more sustained energy source and consequently result in cognitive enhancement compared to low-fiber high glycemic ready-to-eat cereal (Samuel etal., 2005)

Low GI versus high GI Break Fast Effects:

Investigated the effects of long-termintervention of low-GI versus high-GIbreakfasts on energy and macronutrientin takes in children aged 8 – 11 years 33 Pre-adolescent children were assigned to one oftwo groups and were given low-GI or high-G breakfasts on two non-consecutive days per-week for 10 weeks per breakfast type. Eachbreakfast provided approximately 1273 kJ(300 kcal) and was closely matched formacronutrient and dietary fibre content.There was a tendency towards a reduced-energy intake at lunch following the low-GIbreakfast compared with the high-GI-breakfast, although the mean difference of 75kJ (18 kcal) was not significant. In addition,data from the 3-day food diaries showed thatthere was a tendency towards a reduced dailyenergy intake during the low-GI compared with the high-GI study period. In conclusion,although the difference in energy intake following the low-GI and high-GI break fasts was not statistically significant, the dataprovided from this study are encouraging.In summary, physiological changesobserved with increased meal frequency and regular breakfast consumption can lead to increased satiety and reduced energy intake.Individuals who consume breakfast regularly may, therefore, be at reduced risk for chronic diseases, particularly if the breakfast meal includes whole grainproducts.

Another important general pathway through which regular breakfast-consumption may reduce the risk of chronic diseases is its potential impact on the composition of the overall diet. Numerous-observational studies have observed that regular breakfast eaters have higher dietary quality (increased intake of fibre, calcium,vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc, iron, and decreased intake of calories, fat and cholesterol) relative to breakfast skippers.Overall, these studies document that regular breakfast consumption is associated with improved diet quality and better food choices throughout the day. Indeed, different studies observed that breakfast consumption is associated with a reduction in fasting totaland low-density lipoprotein (LDL)cholesterol, oxidized LDL and serum triglyceride concentrations. It has been postulated that reduced day-long serum insulin concentration, observed with aregular meal pattern, may decrease hepatic cholesterol production through the inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase.

Breakfast composition, size and timing

Breakfast meal composition, size and timing can induce many metabolic alterations, including changes in blood glucose, insulin and neurotransmitter concentrations and therefor it is plausible that characteristics of meal itself may influence cognitive functions (Politt and Mathews, 1998).

Breakfast skipping is fairly common in children and adolescents and increases as children age. Breakfast can enhance children’s diets by positively contributing to daily nutrient intake, augmenting intake of key nutrients such as fiber and calcium, and provides a chance to help meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines. Breakfast also is associated with more healthful food choices. Cross-sectional studies support that eating breakfast more often may help children and adolescents maintain a healthful weight. Breakfast consumption may provide some benefit toward cognitive function and academic achievement, but more research is needed. Breakfast is one facet of a healthy lifestyle that may help contribute to the short- and long-term health and well-being of children and adolescents. Health practitioners can promote healthy breakfast consumption in children and adolescents by addressing barriers to eating breakfast and focusing on individuals who may be more likely to skip breakfast on a regular basis.


Rampersaud, G.C., 2009. Benefits of breakfast for children and adolescents: update and recommendations for practitioners. Americanjournaloflifestylemedicine, 3(2), pp.86-103.

Mahoney, C.R., Taylor,  H.A., kanarek, R.B. and Samuel, P., 2005. Effect of breakfast composition on  cognitive  processes in elementary school children. Physiology&behaviour, 85(5),  pp.635-645.

Pollit, E. and Mathews, R., 1998. Breakfast and cognition: an integrative summary. The American journal of  clinical nutrition, 67(4), pp.804S-813S.

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