Young people who eat healthy breakfasts at home have better psychosocial health, according to a new study. While previous research has shown the value of a nutritious meal, this is the first study to examine the reported consequences of whether or not children eat breakfast, as well as where and what. they eat. These results provide parents and children with important information and recommendations.

The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

“Our results suggest that it is not only important to eat breakfast, but it is also important to know where young people eat breakfast and what they eat,” said first author, the Dr. Jose Francisco Lopez-Gil from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Cuenca, Spain. . “Skipping breakfast or eating breakfast away from home is associated with an increased likelihood of psychosocial behavioral problems in children and adolescents. chances of psychosocial behavior problems.

Breakfast matters

In this study, Lopez-Gil and colleagues analyzed data from the 2017 Spanish National Health Survey. This survey included questionnaires on breakfast habits as well as children’s psychosocial health, which included characteristics such as self-esteem, mood and anxiety. The questionnaires were completed by the children’s parents or guardians, and the results included a total of 3,772 Spanish residents between the ages of four and 14. Among the most important results, Lopez-Gil and the team found that taking eating breakfast away from home was almost as detrimental as skipping the meal altogether. The authors suggest this may be because meals eaten away from home are often less nutritious than those prepared at home.

The results also showed that coffee, milk, tea, chocolate, cocoa, yogurt, bread, toast, cereals and pastries were all associated with lower risks of behavioral problems. Surprisingly, eggs, cheese and ham were associated with higher risks of such problems.

Beyond food

Although this study was limited to Spain, these results are consistent with research conducted elsewhere. The availability of nutritious breakfasts in schools would likely influence results in some locations. But other factors, such as the social and family support young people may receive during breakfast at home, may also play a role in the observed benefits. The authors stress the need for further studies to understand the cause and effect relationships behind their observations, but they still suggest the usefulness of these findings.

“The fact that eating breakfast away from home is associated with greater psychosocial health problems is a novel aspect of our study,” Lopez-Gil said. “Our results reinforce the need to not only promote breakfast as part of a healthy lifestyle, but also that it should be eaten at home. Additionally, to prevent psychosocial health issues, a small -breakfast that includes dairy and/or cereals and minimizes some animal-source foods high in saturated fat/cholesterol, may help reduce psychosocial health problems in young people.

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