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Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;93(2):284-91. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.000505. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

Effects of eating breakfast compared with skipping breakfast on ratings of appetite and intake at subsequent meals in 8- to 10-y-old children.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Cross-sectional data indicate an inverse relation between breakfast consumption and child weight. It has been suggested that skipping breakfast may adversely affect appetite in children, which could lead to overeating later in the day.


The aim of this study was to test the effects of consuming breakfast compared with omitting breakfast on appetite ratings and energy intake at subsequent meals in 8- to 10-y-old children.


Twenty-one children participated in 2 test visits during which they were served either a compulsory breakfast or no breakfast. On both visits, subjects were also served lunch, which was consumed ad libitum. Subjects rated their appetite throughout the morning; parents completed food records that captured children's intake for the remainder of the day.


There was no significant main effect of breakfast condition on energy intake at lunch (P = 0.36) or throughout the remainder of the day (P = 0.85). There was a significant main effect of breakfast condition (P = 0.04) on total daily energy intake, which indicated that on the day when the subjects did not eat breakfast, they consumed 362 fewer calories over the course of the day than when they did eat breakfast. On the day when no breakfast was served, subjects indicated that they were significantly hungrier, less full, and could consume more food before lunch than on the day when they did eat breakfast (P < 0.001).


Omitting breakfast affected children's appetite ratings but not their energy intake at subsequent meals. The dissonance between children's subjective ratings of prospective consumption and their actual intake should be further examined.

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