Role of breakfast and its quality in the health of children and adolescents in Spain
Luis A Moreno-Aznar 1 , María Del Carmen Vidal Carou 2 , Ana María López Sobaler 3 , Gregorio Varela-Moreiras 4 , José Manuel Moreno Villares 5
Eating breakfast is a healthy habit that should be encouraged since childhood. When it provides nutritional quality, it is an important daily meal.
The consumption of dairy products, cereals, and fruits at breakfast is associated with healthier dietary patterns, with a beneficial impact on the overall quality of the diet.
In Spain, as in many other countries, the proportion of children who eat breakfast daily is very high, decreasing somewhat in adolescence. However, the quality of breakfast leaves room for improvement, with a low proportion of children/adolescents with high nutritional quality breakfasts.
Children/adolescents who eat breakfast regularly have a higher intake of various nutrients (especially vitamins and minerals) than those who do not eat breakfast. Although the evidence is not entirely conclusive, numerous studies have shown various benefits when comparing the population that eats breakfast regularly versus those who do not, such as cardiometabolic risk parameters (obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and lipid profile) and cognitive functions.
Breakfast should be included in healthy eating plans, since it allows incorporating foods that are difficult to consume in other meals and may contribute to reducing the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases.
In order to promote the intake of a healthy breakfast, it is essential to act on the sociodemographic and cultural factors that influence compliance and quality, such as age, nutritional education (mainly parents and children/adolescents, but also other family members, school mates, friends...), carrying it out as a family, adapting it to the tastes of each population and balancing quality and costs.