Highlights of the June 2005 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

05/27/05

Age, race, nutrient consumption and body mass index: Study in June Journal of the American Dietetic Association looks at breakfast skipping among adolescent girls

CHICAGO –Adolescent girls skip breakfast more frequently as they grow older, with African-American girls more likely to skip their morning meal than white girls, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

The study also indicates skipping breakfast "may predispose" girls to diets that are low in calcium and fiber, and that girls who routinely eat breakfast have a reduced body mass index compared with girls who are "infrequent breakfast eaters."

The study was conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Maryland Medical Research Institute; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Northeastern University; St. Joseph (Conn.) College, Wesleyan University and Westat Inc., Rockville, Md. They examined food records for 2,379 girls, beginning at age 9 or 10, who participated in NHLBI's nine-year bi-racial Growth Health Study.

Among the findings:

  • At all ages between 9 and 19, African-American girls consistently ate breakfast less frequently than white girls.
  • Rates of breakfast consumption dropped from more than 77 percent for 9-year-old white girls and 57 percent for 9-year-old African-American girls to less than 32 percent and 22 percent, respectively, by age 19.
  • At age 9, fewer than 1 percent of white girls and 2.5 percent of African-American girls skipped breakfast on each day of a three-day tracking period. But by age 19, more than 19 percent of white girls and 24 percent of African-American girls skipped breakfast all three days.
  • Girls who consistently ate breakfast had a lower body mass index than those who skipped breakfast.
  • Girls who consistently ate breakfast had higher fiber and calcium intakes.

"Based on the results of our study, we conclude that skipping breakfast becomes more frequent as children grow older and may predispose adolescent girls to diets that are inadequate in calcium and fiber," the researchers wrote, adding that "eating breakfast may be associated with healthful behaviors such as physical activity."

The researchers urge health professionals to "be aware of the age and race-related differences in breakfast eating… promote the importance of eating a healthful breakfast meal to children and adolescents and be aware that African-American girls may be particularly likely to omit breakfast."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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