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Expert Comment: Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Breakfast Tuesday 23 October 2012

Dr Kathleen Mooney, Lecturer in Nutrition at Liverpool Hope, looks at recent research suggesting that skipping breakfast leads people to eat higher calorie food later in the day.

A recent study suggests skipping breakfast makes people hungrier and makes high calorie food appear more attractive later in the day. This is only one of a number of studies that demonstrate breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day.

For example, research studies have shown that children and adolescents who eat breakfast are less likely to become overweight, despite eating more calories on a daily basis. This may seem to be a surprising finding but eating breakfast in childhood and adolescence is not only associated with more regular eating habits and healthy food choices but also with more regular exercise patterns.

Research suggests that children who skip breakfast may be less likely to engage in physical activity leading to weight gain. Children who eat breakfast also tend to have better memories; academic performance; moods and psychosocial functions. Similar results have been found in adults. Those who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than adults who skip breakfast and also have a higher intake of vitamins and minerals needed to keep the body healthy.

Like children and adolescents, overall, adults who eat breakfast tend to lead a healthier lifestyle including participation in physical activity and not eating between meals. We should all eat a healthy breakfast as part of a healthy lifestyle which incorporates physical activity. For healthy breakfast tips, please visit the NHS website.

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