An Australian study has found a significant link between what children eat for breakfast and their intake of essential nutrients needed for growth and development.

The Nutrition Research Australia (NRA) analysis, published in the international journal Nutrients, reported children who ate breakfast cereal had considerably higher intakes of many micronutrients and dietary fibre compared to children who ate other breakfast foods, like bread and spreads, or skipped breakfast altogether.

The nutritional benefits of eating breakfast cereal were consistent regardless of the total sugars content of the breakfast cereal eaten.

The NRA researchers analysed breakfast habits of 2812 Australian children and adolescents (aged 2-18 years) using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey – the largest available, nationally representative survey sample.

Other key findings included:

  • The most popular breakfast choice among Australian children was breakfast cereal (47 per cent) and among those, most (62 per cent) chose a breakfast cereal with less than 15 per cent total sugars.
  • There was no significant difference in added sugars intakes or energy intakes between children that ate breakfast cereal (regardless of its level of sweetening) and children that ate other breakfast foods.
  • The number of Australian children who skipped breakfast (nine per cent) had doubled since the previous survey. Sixty one per cent of breakfast skippers were aged between 14 and 18 years.
  • Breakfast skippers had the lowest daily intakes of dietary fibre and most nutrients.

Access the scientific report on children’s data here.

Download the media release here.

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