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Front Public Health. 2015 May 6;3:68. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00068. eCollection 2015.

The Relationship between Habitual Breakfast Consumption Frequency and Academic Performance in British Adolescents.

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Human Appetite Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Leeds , Leeds , UK.


Breakfast has been shown to be beneficial for cognitive and academic performance in school children. However, there is a paucity of studies which examine the relationship between breakfast consumption and academic performance and a complete absence of studies in UK school children. The aim of this study, therefore, was to examine the association between habitual breakfast consumption frequency and Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT) performance, a reasoning test routinely used in UK schools. Adolescents aged 11-13 years (n = 292; males: 53.8%) completed a questionnaire to report usual weekly breakfast intake frequency. Breakfast was subjectively defined by the participants. Habitual weekly breakfast consumption frequency was categorized as rare (0-2 days), occasional (3-4 days), or frequent (5-7 days). Participants' CAT performance was used as a proxy measure of academic performance. The CAT has three components: verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative reasoning. Normative standard age scores (SAS) for verbal, non-verbal, quantitative reasoning, and overall mean SAS were obtained from school records and hierarchical linear regression models were applied, adjusting for the confounders: gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, English as an Additional Language, and body mass index. Habitual breakfast consumption frequency did not significantly predict any CAT SAS in all models (crude and adjusted). However, methodological considerations which could account for this disagreement with previous research, were identified. These included the isolation of school-day breakfast consumption, use of a standard definition of breakfast, and measurement of actual academic performance. The findings of the current study suggest more comprehensive ways in which future studies might investigate the relationship between habitual breakfast consumption and academic performance.


academic performance; adolescents; breakfast; cognitive abilities test; learning

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