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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Apr;67(4):748S-756S.

Trends in breakfast consumption for children in the United States from 1965-1991.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27516-3997, USA. siegariz.cpc@mhs.unc.edu


We examined breakfast consumption patterns and trends between 1965 and 1991 for children (1-10 y old) and adolescents (11-18 y old) in the United States. The analysis was undertaken by pooling nationally representative samples obtained from the Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys of 1965 and 1977-1978 and the 1989-1991 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. Breakfast consumption, defined as the consumption of food, beverage, or both between 0500 and 1000, was the focus of the trends analysis. Descriptive results indicated a decline in breakfast consumption between 1965 and 1991, particularly for older adolescents aged 15-18 y; the rates for boys and girls declined from 89.7% and 84.4%, respectively, in 1965 to 74.9% and 64.7%, respectively, in 1991. Multivariate results indicated that breakfast consumption declined predominantly because of behavioral changes and not the population's changing sociodemographic patterns. The nutritional quality of foods consumed at breakfast has improved since 1965, with significant shifts toward consumption of lower-fat milk and smaller changes in other food groups. The improvement over time in the quality of food consumed at breakfast, however, is offset by the large percentage of persons aged > or = 11 y who do not presently consume breakfast. Given the association of obesity with less frequent breakfast consumption and the rise in obesity among persons of this age group, a renewed emphasis on the importance of breakfast is warranted.

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