YOUNGSTERS are potentially damaging their health by skipping breakfast, a study has found.
Nearly one in five older children forego a morning meal – with girls more likely to miss out than boys. But the consequences could lead to stunted growth and ill health, researchers advise.
King’s College London scientists and colleagues studied food diaries of 802 children aged four to ten and 884 children aged 11 to 18.
Of the 11-18 group, 27 per cent missed breakfast every day, compared to just 6.5 per cent of four to ten-year-olds.
They found those skipping breakfast had lower levels of several key nutrients. These included fibre folate which is important for making DNA and red blood cells, and iodine – which when deficient can lead to stunted growth and lower intelligence. Many also lacked iron, leaving them at risk of anaemia, and calcium, which is important for bones.
Breakfast was defined as eating at least 100 calories between 6 and 9am.
Dr Gerda Pot, senior author of the study in the British Journal of Nutrition, said: ‘Breakfast is key for parents to ensure that their children are getting the nutrition they need.’
© Daily Mail