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The Sweet Benefits of Breakfast
By Ned Ketyer, MD

You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For your children, it gets their “motors” going and provides energy for their bodies and brains to perform well in school.

There are many children and teenagers who don’t start their school day with breakfast. Parents shouldn’t allow them to make this mistake. Don’t let your kids leave home without eating something: an apple or banana, some yogurt or peanut butter toast — even last night’s pizza! And the more protein they get the better, so encourage them to drink the milk at the bottom of their cereal bowls.

Amy Norton of HealthDay News explains that a new study discovers the additional benefit of preventing obesity by eating breakfast each morning:

The findings are based on 347 healthy adults — 100 of whom said they either never ate breakfast or had it “infrequently” (one to four times a week). The rest ate breakfast five to seven days out of the week.
Those regular breakfast eaters were less likely to be obese at the outset. And breakfast eaters generally gained less weight over the 12-year study period.

People who said they never ate breakfast typically gained 8 pounds, while those who ate it infrequently gained 4.5 pounds. Meanwhile, people who usually ate breakfast gained just under 3 pounds, on average, the findings showed.

Norton touches on several reasons why breakfast eaters are less likely to gain excess weight:

Breakfast fans typically eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruit throughout the day, versus people who skip the morning meal. Their general food choices are more nutritious, and this can be indicative of why breakfast eaters have a heathier weight.

Study senior researcher Naima Covassin said breakfast eaters may differ from breakfast skippers in numerous ways. Besides making healthier food choices, she said, they may exercise more or drink less alcohol.

Still, there’s evidence that the timing of meals — not only their content — matters, according to Covassin, a senior research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

For instance, she said, people who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day — a pattern that has been linked to heavier weight.

There are plenty of good reasons to start the day with a bite to eat and few, if any, reasons to skip breakfast altogether. To learn more, visit The PediaBlog at www.thepediablog.com.

Pediatric Alliance provides high quality, comprehensive primary and specialty care (asthma, allergy, immunology and endocrinology) to infants, children and adolescents. For more information, visit www.pediatricalliance.com.

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