Breakfast patterns among low-income, ethnically-diverse 4th-6thgrade children in an urban areaReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 14:604

Health behavior, health promotion and society


BackgroundIncreasing school breakfast participation has been advocated as a method to prevent childhood obesity. However, little is known about children’s breakfast patterns outside of school e.g., home, corner store. Policies that increase school breakfast participation without an understanding of children’s breakfast habits outside of school may result in children consuming multiple breakfasts and may undermine efforts to prevent obesity. The aim of the current study was to describe morning food and drink consumption patterns among low-income, urban children and their associations with relative weight.

MethodsA cross-sectional analysis was conducted of data obtained from 651 4-6 graders 51.7% female, 61.2% African American, 10.7 years in 2012. Students completed surveys at school that included all foods eaten and their locations that morning. Height and weight were measured by trained research staff.

ResultsOn the day surveyed, 12.4% of youth reported not eating breakfast, 49.8% reported eating one breakfast, 25.5% reported eating two breakfasts, and 12.3% reported eating three or more breakfasts. The number of breakfasts consumed and BMI percentile showed a significant curvilinear relationship, with higher mean BMI percentiles observed among children who did not consume any breakfast and those who consumed ≥ 3 breakfasts. Sixth graders were significantly less likely to have consumed breakfast compared to younger children. A greater proportion of obese youth had no breakfast 18.0% compared to healthy weight 10.1% and overweight youth 10.7%, p = .01.

ConclusionsWhen promoting school breakfast, policies will need to be mindful of both over- and under-consumption to effectively address childhood obesity and food insecurity.

Clinical trial registrationNCT01924130 from

KeywordsChildhood obesity Minority health Dietary intake AbbreviationsSBPSchool breakfast program

BMIBody mass index.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-14-604 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Hannah G Lawman - Heather M Polonsky - Stephanie S Vander Veur - Michelle L Abel - Sandy Sherman - Katherine W Bauer -


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