Schoolchildren: More performance through breakfast

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Children who have breakfast regularly in the morning are less fat and more efficient

Schoolchildren who regularly have breakfast in the morning are more efficient in the motor spectrum than those who do not eat in the morning. In addition, children who have breakfast in the morning are less likely to be overweight, as researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) found in a study.

Every third child does not have breakfast. School-aged children, however, are considerably more powerful when they have breakfast in the morning, as Zurich scientists from the Technical University report. During a long-term study that has been going on for several years, the nutrition and health experts examined schoolchildren in the canton of Zurich for their sporting abilities. In this context, the children involved were also asked about their eating habits. The researchers particularly focused on the first meal of the day.

Lower performance due to missed meals in the morning
When evaluating the study, it was found that children who have breakfast almost every morning had an average lower “Body Mass Index” (BMI) than those of their peers who, for example, only have breakfast with their parents on the weekend or almost never. Students who had breakfast were able to achieve significantly better results in three of the five specified motor skills tests. The study also showed that a child's BMI made it possible to make good predictions about the results it would achieve in sports motor tests such as sprinting, sideways jumping, long distance jumping and back and forth endurance running. "The time of day when the tests were carried out, regular breakfast and gender, on the other hand, could only predict some of the results," explain the Swiss researchers.

Higher BMI due to bad eating habits
As the research team further reported, "Children with a higher BMI generally have worse eating habits: They eat their lunch or dinner more often than normal-weight children in front of the television or in their rooms." Study leader Isabelle Aeberli from the Human Nutrition Department emphasized in summary that the " Study underlines the importance of regular breakfast for schoolchildren ”. Other scientific evaluations had previously reached similar results. For example, children are more likely to have difficulty concentrating and cognitive decline if they are sent to school without a previous meal, according to the researcher.

Several hundred schoolchildren from Winterthur aged seven to ten took part in the study. On the one hand, they completed the standardized sports tests and, in parallel, completed a simplified questionnaire adapted to primary school children about their eating habits with regard to breakfast and snack breaks at school. The social status and social background were not assessed for the evaluation. The scientists also do not want to work out indications of a healthy breakfast. Accordingly, they have not recorded whether "bread with honey is worse than a cereal". Nevertheless, the expert gives a personal tip: "A healthy start to the day is mainly achieved with milk and whole grain products and fruits". When composing breakfast, parents should avoid heavily sweetened foods from the food industry, such as many types of cornflakes. These only give a short-term boost in performance and cannot provide children with the necessary energy sustainably throughout the day. Because the children quickly get hungry again, sugary foods contribute to the formation of excess weight. (sb)

Read about children & breakfast:
Structured daily routine protects against overweight
Healthy breakfast for more concentration
Many children go to school without breakfast
Every third child does not have breakfast

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