Key to Achieving Maximum Nutrition
By Alfredo Flores
June 21, 2002
Teen breakfast-skippers beware: You
could lose out on an important nutritional contribution to your total daily
Adolescents who eat breakfast are two to five times more likely than
breakfast-skippers to consume at least two-thirds of the daily Recommended
Dietary Allowance (RDA) of calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, folacin, phosphorus,
iron and vitamins A, B6 and D, according to Theresa Nicklas, a professor of
pediatrics at the Baylor College of
Medicine in Houston, Texas
The college is home to the Childrens Nutrition Research
Center (CNRC), where the study was done. CNRC is operated by the
Agricultural Research Service, the chief
scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Nicklas found that the intake of other vitamins and minerals--including zinc
and calcium--as well as of protein and carbohydrates, was much higher among
those who ate breakfast. Also, fat consumption was lower.
This study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and
involved more than 700 ninth-graders. The students participated in a nutrition
intervention program called Gimme 5" in New Orleans, La. Analysis of
the baseline 24-hour dietary recalls showed 19 percent of adolescents skipped
Studies have shown that adolescents who consume breakfast make better food
choices throughout the day, and those who skip breakfast fail to compensate for
the missed vitamins and nutrients when they eat at other times.
Breakfast consumption has declined in all age groups during the past 25
years, especially among female adolescents aged 15-18 years. For adolescents,
skipping breakfast has been associated with a higher body mass index.
According to Nicklas, a greater effort is needed to encourage the
consumption of breakfast to improve the nutritional well-being of adolescents.
Many studies of breakfast consumption and dietary patterns are outdated, have
not included the 15-year-old age group, or have included the 15-year-olds only
as part of a broad age range, she added. Fifteen is the age when many
adolescents are entering high school and becoming more independent, which is
part of the reason Nicklas chose this age group.