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J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Aug;109(8):1384-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.05.008.

Breakfast consumption in adolescence and young adulthood: parental presence, community context, and obesity.

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Department of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University, 1111 Main Hall, 700 N. Greenwood Ave, Tulsa, OK 74106, USA.



Breakfast consumption is often examined when researching adolescent dietary intakes and overall health. However, fewer studies have examined the relationship between breakfast and obesity, particularly over time and in relation to weight outcomes in young adulthood. In addition, little is known about contextual factors influencing the likelihood of adolescents consuming breakfast on a regular basis.


The present study assessed individuals' breakfast consumption patterns and obesity status during adolescence and young adulthood. Analyses included the context in which breakfast consumption took place, specifically community and family factors.


Participants' breakfast consumption patterns and obesity status were assessed at two developmental time points--adolescence (Wave 2) and young adulthood (Wave 3). Community disadvantage, family poverty, race, sex, and a parent's morning presence in the home, were examined for association with breakfast consumption.


Data used in this study (n=7,788) were derived from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study of adolescents. Data were collected as follows: Wave 1 (September 1994 to April 1995), Wave 2 (April 1996 to August 1996), and Wave 3 (August 2001 to April 2002). The final sample ranged in age from 12 to 19 years during Wave 2 and 18 to 26 years during Wave 3.


Multilevel random intercept regression models were used to examine the association between community, parental, and individual predictors on adolescent and young adult weight outcomes.


Adolescent regular breakfast consumption significantly predicted young adult regular breakfast consumption (P<0.001) and an important factor associated with adolescents eating breakfast was having at least one parent home in the morning. Regular consumption during both developmental periods provided considerable protection from obesity during adolescence and young adulthood (ie, chronic obesity). Residing in disadvantaged communities decreased the odds adolescents would eat breakfast during adolescence and increased their chances for chronic obesity. African Americans were less likely to eat breakfast during adolescence and young adulthood, while also being at greater risk for chronic obesity compared to whites.


Results indicate that low-income youth in disadvantaged communities, especially African Americans, should be specifically targeted for nutrition interventions related to breakfast consumption. In addition, parental promotion of breakfast at home and/or engagement with schools to develop or strengthen school-based breakfast programs may be a powerful addition to nutrition interventions for youth at risk for lifelong struggles with obesity and other nutrition-related problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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