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Public Health Nutr. 2012 Oct;15(10):1879-89. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012000341. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Breakfast habits among European adolescents and their association with sociodemographic factors: the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study.

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  • 1School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Box 883, Mälardalens University, 72123 Västerås, Sweden.



To describe breakfast habits at food group level in European adolescents and to investigate the associations between these habits and sociodemographic factors.


Cross-sectional study.


Secondary schools from nine European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) Study. Breakfast habits were assessed twice using a computer-based 24 h dietary recall. Adolescents who consumed breakfast on at least one recall day were classified as 'breakfast consumers' and adolescents who did not have anything for breakfast on either of the two recall days were considered 'breakfast skippers'. A 'breakfast quality index' to describe breakfast quality was created based on the consumption or non-consumption of cereals/cereal products, dairy products and fruits/vegetables. The sociodemographic factors studied were sex, age, region of Europe, maternal and paternal education, family structure and family affluence.


Adolescents (n 2672, 53 % girls) aged 12-17 years.


The majority of the adolescents reported a breakfast that scored poorly on the breakfast quality index. Older adolescents, adolescents from the southern part of Europe and adolescents from families with low socio-economic status were more likely to consume a low-quality breakfast.


The study highlights the need to promote the consumption of a high-quality breakfast among adolescents, particularly in older adolescents, adolescents from southern Europe and adolescents from families with low socio-economic status, in order to improve public health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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