Three-quarters of American children decide what—if anything—they’ll eat every morning. That’s a problem.
“Even nutritional deficiencies of a relatively short-term nature will influence children’s behavior, ability to concentrate, and to perform complex tasks,” Tufts University researchers find.
Starting the day with something as easy as a cereal bar can improve memory, mood, and recall, another study shows.
Research among junior-high girls find that those who got iron and vitamin B3 (niacin) at breakfast had better memory scores. And vitamin B12 intake was linked to better grades at school.
There’s more: Eating breakfast also means kids are less likely to be overweight.
Consider the dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes. Any American child born from 2000 on has a one-in-three chance of developing what was only a few years ago known as adult-onset diabetes.
Starting the day off right with a good breakfast has been linked to a healthy body mass index (BMI). With one-third of today’s children either overweight or fast becoming overweight, that’s important since packing on the pounds leads to type 2 diabetes.
For young people with a family history of diabetes, a healthy breakfast stalls surges in blood sugar. Recent Swedish research finds that whole-grain breakfast cereal helps balance blood sugar throughout the day.
Boys who eat cereal for breakfast have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as a lower BMI. And college women who skip breakfast experience irregular periods and menstrual problems.
Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:
Parents need to talk with their kids about the importance of good nutrition. It’s essential for children to understand why they need a good breakfast—and to have plenty of healthy foods from which to choose.