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Breakfast frequency among adolescents: associations with measures of family functioning

  • Trine Pagh Pedersen (a1), Bjørn E Holstein (a1), Mogens Trab Damsgaard (a1) and Mette Rasmussen (a1)

To investigate (i) associations between adolescents’ frequency of breakfast and family functioning (close relations to parents, quality of family communication and family support) and (ii) if any observed associations between breakfast frequency and family functioning vary by sociodemographic factors.


School-based cross-sectional study. Students completed a web-based questionnaire. Associations were estimated by multilevel multivariate logistic regression.


Danish arm of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, 2014.


Adolescents aged 13 and 15 years (n 3054) from a random sample of forty-one schools.


Nearly one-quarter of the adolescents had low breakfast frequency. Low breakfast frequency was associated with low family functioning measured by three dimensions. The OR (95 % CI) of low breakfast frequency was 1·81 (1·40, 2·33) for adolescents who reported no close relations to parents, 2·28 (1·61, 3·22) for adolescents who reported low level of quality of family communication and 2·09 (1·39, 3·15) for adolescents who reported low level of family support. Joint effect analyses suggested that the odds of low breakfast frequency among adolescents with low family functioning compared with high family functioning were highest among adolescents being girls, immigrants and living in other than a traditional family structure.


Low breakfast frequency was associated with low family functioning measured by close relations to parents, quality of family communication and family support. Further, analyses suggested that the associations were more pronounced among girls, immigrants and adolescents from other family structure than traditional. The study highlights the importance of the family setting in promoting regular breakfast frequency among adolescents.

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