That’s the conclusion of a study in which researchers examined the link between breakfast frequency and five-year body weight change in more than 2,200 adolescents.
The results of the study indicate that breakfast eaters consumed a healthier diet and were more robust than those who skipped the meal.
Five years later, daily breakfast eaters also tended to gain less weight and had lower body mass index levels, an indicator of obesity risk, compared with skippers.
Mark Pereira, co-author of the University of Minnesota project EAT, points out that this study extends the literature on the topic of breakfast habits and obesity risk because of its size and duration.
“The dose-response findings between breakfast frequency and obesity risk, even after taking into account physical activity and other dietary factors, suggests that eating breakfast may have important effects on overall diet and obesity risk, but experimental studies are needed to confirm these observations,” he added.
Over the past two decades, rates of obesity have doubled in children and nearly tripled in adolescents.
It is estimated that between 12 and 24 percent of children and adolescents regularly skip breakfast. This percentage of skippers, while alarming, has been found to increase with age.
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer of project EAT said researchers have found further evidence to support the importance of encouraging youth to eat breakfast regularly.
“Although adolescents may think that skipping breakfast seems like a good way to save on calories, findings suggest the opposite,” she said.