Background & Objective : Nutritionists have traditionally recognized breakfast as the most important meal of the day. The importance of eating breakfast is for growing and nutritional well being of children. While health habits such as eating breakfast, maintaining weight, and sleeping regularly are related to the longevity of adults, very little is known about the health habits of disadvantaged school-age children. This study set out to evaluate eating breakfast among adolescent girls and its relationship with body mass index, weight and nutrient intake.
Methods : This descriptive cross-sectional study was done on 611 adolescent primary and secondary school girls (10-14 years old) in Ardabil. Anthropometric studies (height, weight, and MAC) and nutritional status (24 hour recall and food frequency) were done, and the students were asked about eating breakfast and other snacks. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS ver. 9 and Food Processor.
Results : About 16.85% of girls had come to school without eating breakfast. BMI and body weight of these students were significantly more than those of girls who ate breakfast (P<0.05). On the other hand snack intake among the girls who did not use to eat breakfast was more than that among breakfast eaters (P<0.05). The amount of calorie, protein, thiamin, niacin, calcium and iron intake in breakfast-eating girls was more than those among non-eaters (P<0.05). The amount of folacin, riboflavin, calcium and zinc intake in non-eaters was less than recommended dietary allowance of WHO. The result of food frequency showed that the consumption of food such as protein different types of bread, potato, and legume among breakfast eaters was more than their consumption among non-eaters.
Conclusions : This study indicated that eating breakfast can provide adequate calorie and nutrients but its omission can not only lead to lower calorie and nutrients intake but also have an unfavorable effect on food habit and weight of the students.