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J Nutr. 2018 Feb 1;148(2):236-244. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxx055.

Physical Activity Duration but Not Energy Expenditure Differs between Daily and Intermittent Breakfast Consumption in Adolescent Girls: A Randomized Crossover Trial.

Author information

Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research, School of Sport Science and Physical Activity, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, United Kingdom.
Pediatric Exercise Physiology Research Group, School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.



It is not known whether breakfast frequency affects physical activity (PA) in children or adolescents.


This study examined the effect of daily compared with intermittent breakfast consumption on estimated PA energy expenditure (PAEE) in adolescent girls.


Under a randomized crossover design, 27 girls [mean ± SD age: 12.4 ± 0.5 y, body mass index (in kg/m2): 19.3 ± 3.0] completed two 7-d conditions. A standardized breakfast (∼1674 kJ) was consumed every day before 0900 in the daily breakfast consumption (DBC) condition. The standardized breakfast was consumed on only 3 d before 0900 in the intermittent breakfast consumption (IBC) condition, alternating with breakfast omission on the remaining 4 d (i.e., only water consumed before 1030). Combined heart rate accelerometry was used to estimate PAEE throughout each condition. Statistical analyses were completed by using condition × time of day repeated-measures ANOVA. The primary outcome was PAEE and the secondary outcome was time spent in PA.


Daily estimated PAEE from sedentary or light-, moderate-, or vigorous-intensity PA and total PAEE were not significantly different between the conditions. The condition × time of day interaction for sedentary time (P = 0.05) indicated that the girls spent an additional 11.5 min/d being sedentary in the IBC condition compared with the DBC condition from 1530 to bedtime (P = 0.04). Light PA was 19.8 min/d longer in the DBC condition than in the IBC condition (P = 0.05), which was accumulated from waking to 1030 (P = 0.04) and from 1530 to bedtime (P = 0.03). There were no significant differences in time spent in moderate PA or vigorous PA between the conditions.


Adolescent girls spent more time in light PA before 1030 and after school and spent less time sedentary after school when a standardized breakfast was consumed daily than when consumed intermittently across 7 d. However, breakfast manipulation did not affect estimated daily PAEE. This trial was registered at as ISRCTN74579070.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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