Skipping Breakfast Common Among U.S. Girls

bowl of fruit, toast, juice and cerealAs they get older, American adolescent girls start to skip breakfast more often,
with black girls more likely to forego the morning meal than their white peers,
according to a new study.

Skipping breakfast may predispose girls to diets that are low in calcium and
fiber, the researchers added. They also noted that girls who routinely eat
breakfast are actually less prone to becoming overweight or obese
compared with girls who skip the first meal of the day.

In their study, researchers at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in
Cincinnati and elsewhere examined the food consumption records of nearly 2,400
girls. Beginning at age 9 or 10, the girls kept these records as part of the
nine-year Growth Health Study, conducted by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute.

The researchers found that rates of everyday breakfast consumption declined
from more than 77 percent for nine-year-old white girls and 57 percent for
nine-year-old black girls to less than 32 percent and 22 percent, respectively,
by the time the girls reached age 19.

When they were nine years old, fewer than one percent of white girls and 2.5
percent of black girls skipped breakfast on each day of a random three-day
tracking period. By age 19, that number had increased to more than 19 percent
and 24 percent, respectively.

At all ages between nine and 19, black girls consistently ate breakfast less
often than white girls.

The authors urged health professionals to “be aware of the age and
race-related differences in breakfast eating, promote the importance of eating a
healthful breakfast meal to children and adolescents and be aware that
African-American girls may be particularly likely to omit breakfast.”

The study appears in the June issue of the Journal of the American
Dietetic Association
.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains why growing girls need
calcium
.

— Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, news release, June 1, 2005

Last Updated: June 1, 2005

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