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Study provides more evidence why kids should eat breakfast

The team found that eating breakfast away from home was nearly as detrimental as skipping the meal entirely.

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By Stephen Beech via SWNS

Children who skip breakfast are more likely to suffer behavioral problems, according to a new study.

Researchers found that youngsters who eat a healthy breakfast at home have better mental well-being than those who don't eat in the morning or dine elsewhere.

But children and teenagers who eat eggs and processed meat, such as bacon or sausages in the morning are more likely to suffer from behavioral issues than kids who have healthy cereals, according to the findings.

While previous research has established the important role of a nutritious way to start the day, the new study is the first to look at the reported effects of whether kids eat breakfast, as well as where and what they eat.

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, provide valuable insights and recommendations for parents and their children.

The study's first author Dr. José Francisco López-Gil, of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, said: “Our results suggest that it is not only important to eat breakfast, but it’s also important where young people eat breakfast and what they eat.

“Skipping breakfast or eating breakfast away from home is associated with increased likelihood of psychosocial behavioral problems in children and adolescents."

"Similarly, consumption of certain foods and drinks are associated with higher - for example, processed meat - or lower - eg, dairies, cereals - odds of psychosocial behavioral problems.”

Dr. López-Gil and his team studied data from the 2017 Spanish National Health Survey which included questionnaires both about breakfast habits as well as children’s psychosocial health - such as self-esteem, mood, and anxiety.

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The surveys were completed by the children’s parents or guardians and the results included a total of 3,772 Spanish residents between the ages of four and 14.

Among the most important results, Dr. López-Gil and the team found that eating breakfast away from home was nearly as detrimental as skipping the meal entirely.

The researchers suggest that this may be because meals away from home are frequently less nutritious than those prepared at home.

The results also showed that coffee, milk, tea, chocolate, cocoa, yogurt, bread, toast, cereals, and pastries were all associated with lower chances of behavioral problems.

However, surprisingly, eggs, cheese, and ham were linked with higher risks of such issues.

Although the study was limited to Spain, the researchers say that their findings are "consistent" with research performed elsewhere.

They said the availability of nutritious breakfasts at schools would likely influence the results in some locations.

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But other factors - such as the parental support that young people can receive during breakfast at home - may also play a role in the observed benefits.

The researchers emphasized the need for further studies to understand the "cause-and-effect" relationships behind their observations.

Dr. López-Gil added: “The fact that eating breakfast away from home is associated with greater psychosocial health problems is a novel aspect of our study.

“Our findings reinforce the need to promote not only breakfast as part of a healthy lifestyle routine but also that it should be eaten at home.

"Also, to prevent psychosocial health problems, a breakfast that includes dairy and/or cereals, and minimizes certain animal foods high in saturated fat or cholesterol, could help to decrease psychosocial health problems in young people.”

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