Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Breakfast skipping is associated with differences in meal patterns, macronutrient intakes and overweight among pre-school children

Lise Duboisa1 c1, Manon Girarda1, Monique Potvin Kenta1, Anna Farmera1 and Fabiola Tatone-Tokudaa1

a1 Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, 1 Stewart Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5


Objectives To examine the association between skipping breakfast, daily energy, macronutrients and food intakes, and BMI in pre-school children.

Design A cross-sectional study using information on children’s food consumption and measured height and weight. Energy and macronutrient intakes of the children were derived from parent/day-care attendant’s responses to 24 h recall interviews and eating behaviour questionnaires.

Setting Data obtained from a representative sample (n 2103) of children born in Quebec (Canada) in 1998.

Subjects One thousand five hundred and forty-nine children, with a mean age of 49 (sd 3·12) months.

Results Ten per cent of children ate breakfast on fewer than 7 days per week. This behaviour was associated with a lower diet quality and concentrated energy intakes through higher protein intakes at lunch and the consumption of snacks higher in energy and carbohydrate in the afternoon and evening; yet total daily energy intakes were not significantly different from those of pre-school children who ate breakfast every day. Breakfast skippers’ mean BMI increased as intake of energy, carbohydrates or servings of grain products increased; however, this was not the case for breakfast eaters. When Cole’s cut-off for overweight/obesity was used, overweight/obesity in breakfast skippers was related to the dinner-time consumption of approximately 3000 kJ (700 kcal) or more for energy intake, approximately 100 g or more of carbohydrates, or approximately 3 servings or more of grain products.

Conclusions Eating breakfast every day is associated with having a healthy body weight, likely due to a more even distribution of energy intake across meals throughout the day.

(Received May 08 2007)

(Accepted January 05 2008)


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