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Physiol Behav. 2007 Jan 30;90(1):142-50. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

Consumption of a mid-morning snack improves memory but not attention in school children.

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  • 1Institute of Population Health and Clinical Research, St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore 560 034, India.


Muthayya, S., T. Thomas, K. Srinivasan, K. Rao, A. V. Kurpad, J.-W. Van Klinken, G. Owen and E.A. de Bruin: Consumption of a mid-morning snack improves memory but not attention in school children. Physiol Behav 00(0) 000-000, 2006.--This study aimed to determine whether consumption of a mid-morning snack with appropriate energy compensation through a smaller breakfast or lunch, resulted in improved cognitive performance of 7-9 year old children with a low and high socioeconomic status (LSES and HSES, n=35 and 34 respectively). The children were each randomly assigned to three iso-caloric dietary interventions: control (standard breakfast, no snack and standard lunch), intervention A (small breakfast, snack, and standard lunch) and intervention B (standard breakfast, snack, and small lunch), using a cross-over design. The children were tested on three different days, each one week apart. Computerised tests of cognitive performance, consisting of memory, sustained attention and psychomotor speed, were performed during four sessions, i.e., prior to breakfast, after breakfast, after a mid-morning snack and after lunch. Having a mid-morning snack resulted in a smaller decline in immediate and delayed memory in LSES but not in HSES children. Having a snack did not influence sustained attention and psychomotor speed in either LSES or HSES children. This study shows that a more evenly distributed energy intake throughout the morning by consuming a mid-morning snack improves memory performance in school-age LSES children even when the total amount of energy consumed during the morning is not altered.

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