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Kids who skip breakfast may lack key nutrients

Children who skip breakfast regularly may not be consuming the daily amounts of key nutrients for growth and development recommended by the UK government.

Children who skip breakfast regularly may not be consuming the daily amounts of key nutrients for growth and development recommended by the UK government

breakfast
Breakfast is key to ensuring that children get the nutrition they need. 
Picture: Alamy

Children who skip breakfast regularly may not be consuming the daily amounts of key nutrients for growth and development recommended by the UK government.

A study by King's College London found children who ate breakfast every day had higher daily intakes of key nutrients such as folate (important for the development of genetic material), calcium, iron and iodine (key in the development of thyroid function) than children who skipped breakfast.

Researchers used food diaries collected for the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling programme between 2008 and 2012 from a group of 802 children aged 4-10 and 884 children aged 11-18.

Nutrient intake was assessed using a food composition databank from the Department of Health. Breakfast was considered as consumption of over 100 calories between 6am and 9am.

Key findings

  • 31.5% of those who skipped breakfast did not meet even the lower recommended nutrient intake (LRNI) of iron, compared with only 4.4% of children who had breakfast.
  • 19% did not meet LRNI for calcium, compared with 2.9% of those who had breakfast.
  • 21.5% did not meet lower levels for iodine, compared with 3.3% of those who had breakfast.

No children who consumed breakfast daily had a folate intake below their LRNI, compared with 7.3% of those who skipped breakfast.

King’s College London lecturer in nutritional sciences Gerda Pot said: ‘This study provides evidence that breakfast is key for parents to ensure that their children are getting the nutrition they need.'


Coulthard J et al (2017) Breakfast consumption and nutrient intakes in 4-18 year olds: UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (2008-2012). British Journal of Nutrition. doi.org/10.1017/S0007114517001714

 

 

 

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