Objective: Development and validation of a questionnaire to measure children's attitudes towards breakfast.
Design: A pilot study was used to select questionnaire items and assess test-retest reliability. The questionnaire was then administered to a larger sample of children together with a dietary recall questionnaire. Randomly selected subsets of these children also completed a dietary recall interview or their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire relating to their child's breakfast eating habits.
Setting: Primary schools in south, west and north Wales, UK.
Subjects: A total of 2495 children (199 in pilot testing, 2382 in the main study) in years 5 and 6 (aged 9-11 years).
Results: The 13-item scale showed good construct validity, high internal reliability and acceptable test-retest reliability. Boys displayed more positive attitudes towards breakfast than girls but differences between the two age groups did not reach statistical significance. Children who did not skip breakfast displayed more positive attitudes than children who skipped breakfast. In addition, more positive attitudes towards breakfast were significantly correlated with consumption of a greater number of 'healthy' foods for breakfast (i.e., fruit, bread, cereal, milk products), consumption of fewer 'unhealthy' foods for breakfast (i.e., sweet items, crisps) and parental perceptions that their child usually ate a healthy breakfast.
Conclusions: The breakfast attitudes questionnaire is a robust measure that is relatively quick to administer and simple to score. These qualities make it ideal for use where validity at the individual level is important or where more time-consuming dietary measures are not feasible.