a1 Unit of Human Nutrition, Department of Food Science and Technology, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos, 11855, Athens, Greece
a2 Department of Nutrition – Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece
a3 Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
a4 Department of General Practice and Family Medicine, Health Center of Vyronas, Athens, Greece
a5 Cereal Partners Worldwide, Lausanne, Switzerland
Objective To evaluate whether consumption of breakfast cereals is associated with BMI in a sample of Greek adolescents.
Design A cross-sectional health and nutrition survey.
Setting and subjects During 2004–5, 2008 schoolchildren aged 12–17 years were selected from twelve schools located in Vyronas region (Athens metropolitan area). Height and weight were measured and BMI was calculated. A semi-quantitative FFQ was applied and multiple logistic regression analysis was used.
Results Overall, 4·7 % of boys and 1·7 % of girls were obese, whereas 19·4 % of boys and 13·2 % of girls were overweight. Only 20·7 % of boys and 15·5 % of girls reported that they consume cereals as a first choice for breakfast. Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI in boys (P = 0·08) and girls (P = 0·019), irrespective of age and physical activity status. More prominent results were observed for daily cereal consumption or for more than two daily servings of cereals consumed for breakfast. Consumption of pre-sweetened breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI compared with non-pre-sweetened or no intake of cereals, in both genders (P < 0·001). Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with 33 % (95 % CI 14 %, 48 %) lower likelihood of overweight/obesity, irrespective of age, sex and physical activity status.
Conclusions Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI levels and a lower likelihood of overweight/obesity in both genders; thus a solid basis for public health professionals could be built when issuing advice on weight management.
(Received March 16 2007)
(Accepted September 26 2007)