1. Breakfast is widely acknowledged to be the most important meal of the day.
  2. Breakfast consumption is associated with positive outcomes for diet quality, micronutrient intake, weight status and lifestyle factors.
  3. Children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination.
  4. Eating breakfast might help the body regulate blood glucose concentrations. Skipping breakfast has been shown to increase postprandial hyperglycemia (high blood sugar following a meal) in people with type 2 diabetes.

Breakfast has been suggested to positively affect learning in children in terms of behavior, cognition, and school performance. There has been evidence to support these claims, demonstrating acute effects of breakfast on cognitive performance ( Front Hum Neurosci. 2013; 7: 425.). When conducting the experiment on breakfast and learning, the effects of breakfast on different populations were considered, including undernourished children, well-nourished children and adolescents from differing socio-economic statuses (SES). In addition, the habitual and acute effects of breakfast and the effects of school breakfast programs (SBPs) were considered.  

The results indicated a mainly positive effect of breakfast on behavior in the classroom. There was suggestive data that habitual breakfast (frequency and quality) and SBPs have a positive effect on children's academic performance, with the most notable effects on improved mathematic and arithmetic grades in undernourished children. Furthermore, increased frequency of breakfast was consistently positively associated with academic performance. Other data suggested that quality of habitual breakfast, in terms of providing a greater variety of food groups and adequate energy, was positively related to school performance. However, these associations can be attributed, in part, to confounders such as SES and to methodological weaknesses such as the subjective nature of the observations of the behavior in class. Although the data is quite mixed, the studies are generally able to demonstrate that eating breakfast has a positive effect on children's cognitive performance, particularly in memory and attention (Wesnes et al., 2003, 2012; Widenhorn-Muller et al., 2008; Cooper et al., 2011; Pivik et al., 2012).                                                                                                                                                            

Children who habitually consume breakfast are more likely to have favorable nutrient intakes including higher intake of dietary fiber, total carbohydrate and lower total fat and cholesterol (Deshmukh-Taskar et al., 2010). Breakfast also makes a large contribution to daily micronutrient intake (Balvin Frantzen et al., 2013). Nutrients such as Iron, B vitamins (folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) and Vitamin D are approximately 20–60% higher in children who regularly eat breakfast compared to those who skip breakfast (Gibson, 2003).       

COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Dalina Perzefi.