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Breakfast skipping is associated with differences in meal patterns, macronutrient intakes and overweight among pre-school children

  • Lise Dubois (a1), Manon Girard (a1), Monique Potvin Kent (a1), Anna Farmer (a1) and Fabiola Tatone-Tokuda (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

To examine the association between skipping breakfast, daily energy, macronutrients and food intakes, and BMI in pre-school children.


A cross-sectional study using information on children’s food consumption and measured height and weight. Energy and macronutrient intakes of the children were derived from parent/day-care attendant’s responses to 24 h recall interviews and eating behaviour questionnaires.


Data obtained from a representative sample (n 2103) of children born in Quebec (Canada) in 1998.


One thousand five hundred and forty-nine children, with a mean age of 49 (sd 3·12) months.


Ten per cent of children ate breakfast on fewer than 7 days per week. This behaviour was associated with a lower diet quality and concentrated energy intakes through higher protein intakes at lunch and the consumption of snacks higher in energy and carbohydrate in the afternoon and evening; yet total daily energy intakes were not significantly different from those of pre-school children who ate breakfast every day. Breakfast skippers’ mean BMI increased as intake of energy, carbohydrates or servings of grain products increased; however, this was not the case for breakfast eaters. When Cole’s cut-off for overweight/obesity was used, overweight/obesity in breakfast skippers was related to the dinner-time consumption of approximately 3000 kJ (700 kcal) or more for energy intake, approximately 100 g or more of carbohydrates, or approximately 3 servings or more of grain products.


Eating breakfast every day is associated with having a healthy body weight, likely due to a more even distribution of energy intake across meals throughout the day.

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