Breakfast skipping is associated with differences in meal patterns, macronutrient intakes and overweight among pre-school children

Public Health Nutr. 2009 Jan;12(1):19-28. doi: 10.1017/S1368980008001894. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Objectives: To examine the association between skipping breakfast, daily energy, macronutrients and food intakes, and BMI in pre-school children.

Design: A cross-sectional study using information on children's food consumption and measured height and weight. Energy and macronutrient intakes of the children were derived from parent/day-care attendant's responses to 24 h recall interviews and eating behaviour questionnaires.

Setting: Data obtained from a representative sample (n 2,103) of children born in Quebec (Canada) in 1998.

Subjects: One thousand five hundred and forty-nine children, with a mean age of 49 (sd 3.12) months.

Results: Ten per cent of children ate breakfast on fewer than 7 days per week. This behaviour was associated with a lower diet quality and concentrated energy intakes through higher protein intakes at lunch and the consumption of snacks higher in energy and carbohydrate in the afternoon and evening; yet total daily energy intakes were not significantly different from those of pre-school children who ate breakfast every day. Breakfast skippers' mean BMI increased as intake of energy, carbohydrates or servings of grain products increased; however, this was not the case for breakfast eaters. When Cole's cut-off for overweight/obesity was used, overweight/obesity in breakfast skippers was related to the dinner-time consumption of approximately 3,000 kJ (700 kcal) or more for energy intake, approximately 100 g or more of carbohydrates, or approximately 3 servings or more of grain products.

Conclusions: Eating breakfast every day is associated with having a healthy body weight, likely due to a more even distribution of energy intake across meals throughout the day.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Overweight / etiology*