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J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Mar;104(3):420-3.

Breakfast and lunch meal skipping patterns among fourth-grade children from selected public schools in urban, suburban, and rural maryland.

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Morgan State University, 9 Blake Court, Baltimore, MD 21136, USA.


The objective of this study was to describe breakfast and lunch consumption patterns of fourth-grade students from selected public schools in Maryland and how they differ by geographic location. Data were collected from a sample of 540 fourth-grade public school children (46% male, 62% white; mean age=9 years) from three geographically distinct regions of Maryland (30% rural, 30% suburban, and 40% urban). Data on breakfast and lunch consumption were collected using an in-classroom questionnaire. chi(2) tests were used to compare skipping meal behavior by geographic location. Twenty percent of fourth-grade students reported skipping breakfast and/or lunch at least three times per week. Urban students were more than twice as likely to skip breakfast and to eat school-prepared meals compared with suburban and rural students. Dietitians in all regions need to explore new ways to encourage regular meal consumption among students in their schools.

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