Breakfast consumption has no effect on neuropsychological functioning in children: a repeated-measures clinical trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Sep;104(3):715-21. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.132043. Epub 2016 Jul 27.


Background: Although many studies have investigated the relation between breakfast consumption and various domains of cognitive functioning within children, some of the reported findings are inconsistent.

Objective: We sought to determine the short-term effects of a breakfast meal on the neuropsychological functioning of healthy school-aged children after an overnight fast.

Design: The study was conducted in a clinical research center with the use of a counterbalanced repeated-measures design among children who either consumed breakfast or were fasting. The administered neuropsychological tests included measures of attention, impulsivity, short-term memory, cognitive processing speed, and verbal learning. The sample consisted of children aged 8-10 y (n = 128), of whom 52% were female, 38% were African American, 31% were Hispanic, 28% were white, and 3% were of another race/ethnicity.

Results: There were no significant (P ≥ 0.004) differences between breakfast meal consumption and fasting for any of the neuropsychological measures administered.

Conclusion: Breakfast consumption had no short-term effect on neuropsychological functioning in healthy school-aged children. This trial was registered at as NCT01943604.

Keywords: breakfast consumption; breakfast skipping; children; cognition; neuropsychological functioning.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Breakfast*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cognition Disorders / blood
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Cognition*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parents
  • Patient Compliance
  • Self Report
  • Texas
  • Verbal Learning


  • Biomarkers

Associated data