Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Did your teen eat breakfast today? Did YOU?

Breakfast-Eating Teens Thinner, Healthier

Teens and adolescents who eat breakfast every day are less likely to become overweight or obese in the near future and they typically lead a more active, healthier lifestyle than their peers who skip breakfast, according to the latest research published by Project EAT. Researchers followed the dietary habits and lifestyles of 2,200 adolescents for five years to identify any possible link between body weight change and breakfast. The study was conducted by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Project Eating Among Teens (EAT).

In the last twenty years, obesity in children has doubled and tripled for adolescents. Estimates are that as many as 12% to 24% of children and adolescents skip breakfast on a regular basis.

Skipping breakfast and other unhealthy weight-control choices are frequently made in 57% of the female adolescent population and 33% of the males. The number of breakfasts skipped increases at an alarming rate as children grow up.

The Project EAT study, titled “Breakfast Eating and Weight Change in a 5-Year Prospective Analysis of Adolescents: Project EAT,” started five years ago when study participants were adolescents. Now in their teens, those who ate breakfast daily are thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those that frequently skipped breakfast. BMI is a measurement used to determine risk of obesity.

Many people, including teens, think skipping breakfast is an effective way to limit calories but the opposite is actually true, according to Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, Project EAT’s principal investigator. Skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day, especially in the evenings.

Full details of the Project EAT study are to be published in the March issue of the journal, Pediatrics, the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I think all the talk about all calories being equal, and that the only way to lose weight is to eat less calories, has ruined breakfast for a lot of people. Meal skipping is a common way to try to lose weight. I'm happy to see breakfast getting good publicity! Next step is to push a healthy protein-rich breakfast instead of grains that leave you starving, cranky and tired all day long!

I really wonder about the statement made in the article that skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day. I am betting that it's in the 'said often enough so it must be true' category. It doesn't ring true for me. When I skip breakfast, I consume less calories in a day, not more - yet it still slows my weight loss. Starvation mode anyone?

What is your experience, with breakfast skipping & reduced calorie intake?

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