Why is Breakfast important?
By Thiyagarajan Sivapriya, M.Sc, M. Phil
According to an old phrase, 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 breakfast consumption 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 health and successful education of school children. Malnutrition is accompanied with 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 the hunger due to that, the body requires nutritional elements, so omitting breakfast 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 aetiology of obesity in adolescents is complex although notable among them is breakfast skipping.
Intake of whole cereals, dairy products, fruits and vegetables among breakfast consumers is many times higher than breakfast skippers. Prevalence of dietary inadequacy for Ca, Mg, Fe and vitamin D are common among breakfast non-consumers. Thus breakfast consumers have a better quality of food selection than non-consumers, who consume mostly fried items to fulfil 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 breakfast skipping 
Children who skipped breakfast had 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 fibre and micronutrient intake. Skipping breakfast has been reported to be an index of erratic dietary patterns during the day which consequently can adversely affect fasting insulin levels and cardio metabolic risk factors .
Adolescents who consumed breakfast 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 breakfast. 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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