Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents

Gail C. Rampersaud, Mark A. Pereira, Beverly L. Girard, Judi Adams, Jordan D. Metzl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

872 Scopus citations


Breakfast has been labeled the most important meal of the day, but are there data to support this claim? We summarized the results of 47 studies examining the association of breakfast consumption with nutritional adequacy (nine studies), body weight (16 studies), and academic performance (22 studies) in children and adolescents. Breakfast skipping is highly prevalent in the United States and Europe (10% to 30%), depending on age group, population, and definition. Although the quality of breakfast was variable within and between studies, children who reported eating breakfast on a consistent basis tended to have superior nutritional profiles than their breakfast-skipping peers. Breakfast eaters generally consumed more daily calories yet were less likely to be overweight, although not all studies associated breakfast skipping with overweight. Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance. Breakfast as part of a healthful diet and lifestyle can positively impact children's health and well-being. Parents should be encouraged to provide breakfast for their children or explore the availability of a school breakfast program. We advocate consumption of a healthful breakfast on a daily basis consisting of a variety of foods, especially high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, and dairy products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-760
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), which assembled the Breakfast Advisory Board (of which all investigators are members), including consulting fees and travel reimbursement. The FDOC reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript, but did not influence, or contribute anything to, its content. In addition, the lead investigator’s position is funded jointly by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and the FDOC.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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