Breakfast: is it really so important?
By Thiyagarajan Sivapriya, M.Sc, M. Phil
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, although it is the meal which is most often missed and the most underestimated. This saying has recently acquired scientific support. The reported health benefits from regular consumption of this meal include a better nutritional profile, reduced body mass index, better cognitive functions, reduced incidence of chronic degenerating diseases including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a healthier lifestyle, healthier food choices, and regular eating and exercise patterns 
Nutrition plays an important role in the health and successful education of school children. Malnutrition is accompanied by Carelessness and reducing thoughts and educational progress among school children . Breakfast is considered to be an important daily food meal because, after overnight fasting and hunger due to that, the body requires nutritional elements, so omitting this meal can cause deficiency of nutrient substances which is required by the brain, with subsequent reduction, in mental function .
Overweight and obesity in youths have increased during the past decades and are associated with different physical and psychosocial health problems . Overweight is caused by a long-term positive energy balance occurring when the energy intake outweighs the energy expenditure . The etiology of obesity in adolescents is complex although notable among them is breakfast skipping.
Intake of whole cereals, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables among subjects who eat a morning meal is many times higher than those who skip it. Prevalence of dietary inadequacy for Ca, Mg, Fe, and vitamin D is common among breakfast non-consumers. Thus breakfast consumers have a better quality of food selection than non-consumers, who consume mostly fried items to fulfill their hunger.
Eating breakfast regularly is also an important contributor to a healthy lifestyle and health status. Several studies have revealed that smoking, frequent alcohol used, and infrequent exercise were significantly associated with adolescent skipping this meal 
Children who skipped breakfast had a higher level of risk markers for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They had lower total energy intake but more energy-dense diets with high-fat content, lower fiber, and micronutrient intake. Not eating a morning meal has been reported to be an index of erratic dietary patterns during the day which consequently can adversely affect fasting insulin levels and cardiometabolic risk factors .
Adolescents who consumed a morning meal regularly were more likely to be physically active compared with their skipper counterparts. A higher physical activity level has been associated with higher physical ﬁtness, which is a health marker in children and adolescents .
Since eating habits developed in youth are likely to continue into adulthood, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for early and continued interventions, and one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of improving health and well-being starts with a morning meal. Efforts to encourage and maintain breakfast consumption in children and adolescents are warranted. WHO is requesting on world leaders to put breakfast at the heart of public health promotion campaigns and encourage adolescents to ‘Make Time for Breakfast’, as a significant but achievable step towards achieving healthier lifestyles.
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