Teens and adolescents who eat breakfast every day are less likely to become overweight or obese in the near future and they typically lead a more active, healthier lifestyle than their peers who skip breakfast, according to the latest research published by Project EAT. Researchers followed the dietary habits and lifestyles of 2,200 adolescents for five years to identify any possible link between body weight change and breakfast. The study was conducted by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Project Eating Among Teens (EAT).
In the last twenty years, obesity in children has doubled and tripled for adolescents. Estimates are that as many as 12% to 24% of children and adolescents skip breakfast on a regular basis.
Skipping breakfast and other unhealthy weight-control choices are frequently made in 57% of the female adolescent population and 33% of the males. The number of breakfasts skipped increases at an alarming rate as children grow up.
The Project EAT study, titled “Breakfast Eating and Weight Change in a 5-Year Prospective Analysis of Adolescents: Project EAT,” started five years ago when study participants were adolescents. Now in their teens, those who ate breakfast daily are thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those that frequently skipped breakfast. BMI is a measurement used to determine risk of obesity.
Many people, including teens, think skipping breakfast is an effective way to limit calories but the opposite is actually true, according to Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, Project EAT’s principal investigator. Skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day, especially in the evenings.
Full details of the Project EAT study are to be published in the March issue of the journal, Pediatrics, the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Source: University of Minnesota
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