The Power of Breakfast in Childhood!
Average read time: 2 minutes
Learn more on how Installing the breakfast habit in children can help establish other healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases in the future.
The evidence is unequivocal; eating breakfast in childhood can help prevent a plethora of lifestyle diseases and can generally promote well-being. Almost 1 in 5 children under the age between the ages 2-5 are overweight in South Africa. The same proportion of children between the ages 10-14 years in the same study, never have breakfast.
A regular breakfast including oat-, barley-, or psyllium-based cereals is associated with a reduced risk of abnormal lipid profiles, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Indeed, large systematic reviews of children showed children who that habitually eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight Other benefits include better blood glucose control, less insulin resistance, and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, even after adjusting for differences in BMI, socio-economic status and physical activity levels. Eating a well-balanced breakfast can avoid overeating associated with discretionary nibbling in between meals especially of snacks that are high in sugar and/or fat.
The benefits of eating breakfast go beyond associated positive clinical outcomes, although these are obviously significant. Installing the breakfast habit in children can help establish other healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases in the future. Children who eat breakfast are more likely to be fitter, abstain from smoking, less likely to drink alcohol, or to have other unhealthy eating habits.
Take Home Messages
- Obesity is an emerging problem in children in South Africa that needs intervention if the country is to turn the tide against NCDs in South Africa.
- A significant percentage of children in South Africa never have breakfast.
- A habitual breakfast intake is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing NCD risk factors.
- Over and beyond clinical outcomes, eating breakfast in childhood seems to instill other healthy lifestyle habits.
- To reduce the incidence of NCDs in South Africa, need to promote and increase access to breakfast in childhood.
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