Background: Despite the recommendation that children and teens consume 20% of their daily calories at breakfast, it is the most commonly skipped meal, particularly for teenagers. What is the association between eating or skipping breakfast and daily micronutrient intakes in children and teens?
The study: This study consisted of a systematic review of 33 studies and a meta-analysis of 7 studies that investigated the association between the breakfast habits of children and teens (aged 2-18 years) and their daily micronutrient intake.
The results: The systematic review found that children and teens who usually consume breakfast had a higher intake of B-vitamins and vitamins C, D, and A than those who skipped breakfast. Neither intakes of vitamin E nor vitamin K showed a correlation with breakfast eating. Breakfast eaters also had higher intakes of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iodine.
The meta-analysis investigated the differences in daily micronutrient intakes between children and teens who ate cereal (including both whole-grain and processed cereals) for breakfast and those who skipped breakfast. Cereal consumers had notably higher intakes of vitamins A and C, thiamine (vitamin B1), and riboflavin (vitamin B2) than breakfast skippers. Additionally, children and teens who ate cereal for breakfast had higher intakes of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium than those who skipped the meal.
Other types of breakfasts (non-cereal) were also weighed against breakfast skipping in the meta-analysis. Breakfast eaters showed higher intakes of riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium, but no difference was found for thiamin (vitamin B1).
Overall, children and teenagers who ate breakfast seemed to take in substantially more daily vitamins and minerals than those who skipped the meal.
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