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Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Apr;49(4):646-53.

Effects of missing breakfast on the cognitive functions of school children of differing nutritional status.

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Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.


We examined the effects of omitting breakfast on the cognitive functions of three groups of children: stunted, nonstunted controls, and previously severely malnourished. They were admitted to a metabolic ward twice. After an overnight fast half the children received breakfast on their first visit and a cup of tea the second time. The treatment order was reversed for the other half. When breakfast was omitted, both the stunted and previously malnourished groups responded similarly. The malnourished groups had lower scores in fluency and coding whereas the control group had higher scores in arithmetic. The children were divided into wasted and nonwasted groups. Wasted children were adversely affected in the digit span backwards tests, and wasted members of the malnourished groups were adversely affected in efficiency of problem solving and those in the control group in digit span forwards. These results indicate that cognitive functions are more vulnerable to missing breakfast in poorly nourished children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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