Study: Breakfast, Cereal Keep Girls Slim

Study: Breakfast, Cereal Keep Girls Slim

  • By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer
    Thursday, September 8, 2005

(09-08) 17:25 PDT BALTIMORE (AP) –

Girls who regularly ate breakfast, particularly one that includes cereal, were slimmer than those who skipped the morning meal, according to a study that tracked nearly 2,400 girls for 10 years.

Girls who ate breakfast of any type had a lower average body mass index, a common obesity gauge, than those who said they didn’t. The index was even lower for girls who said they ate cereal for breakfast, according to findings of the study conducted by the Maryland Medical Research Institute with funding from the National Institutes of Health and cereal-maker General Mills.

“Not eating breakfast is the worst thing you can do, that’s really the take-home message for teenage girls,” said study author Bruce Barton, president and CEO of the Maryland Medical Research Institute.

The fiber in cereal and healthier foods that normally accompany cereal, such as milk and orange juice, may account for the lower body mass index among cereal eaters, Barton said.

The results were gleaned from a larger National Institutes of Health survey of 2,379 girls in California, Ohio and Maryland who were tracked between the ages of 9 and 19. Results of the study appear in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Nearly one in three adolescent girls in the United States is overweight or obese, according to the association. The problem is particularly troubling because research shows becoming overweight as a child can lead to a lifetime struggle with obesity.

As part of the survey, the girls were asked once a year what they had eaten during the previous three days. The data were adjusted to compensate for factors such as differences in physical activity among the girls and normal increases in body fat during adolescence.

A girl who reported eating breakfast on all three days had, on average, a body mass index .7 units lower than a girl who did not eat breakfast at all. If the breakfast included cereal, the average was 1.65 units lower, the researchers found.

Breakfast consumption dropped as the girls aged, the researchers found, and those who did not eat breakfast tended to eat higher fat foods later in the day.

“We think it kick-starts your metabolism because you’ve eaten something,” Barton said. “When you get to lunch you’re not starving and you can make reasonable choices for lunch and dinner.”

John Kirwan, a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University’s Schwartz Center for Nutrition and Metabolism, said the findings may be “more reflective of overall eating habits and quality of food consumed.”

“Those who eat breakfast on a regular basis are more likely to have a structured eating plan throughout the day and consequently are less likely to snack between meals and consume empty calories,” said Kirwan, who has studied the effect of breakfast consumption on exercise performance, but was not involved in the study.

He also noted the study did not distinguish between low-sugar and high-sugar cereals, noting growing evidence that those who eat so-called low glycemic foods have a lower risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

While cereal can often be high in fiber and low in fat, “you can’t walk away saying, I’m going to eat cereal and lose weight,” said Melinda Johnson, a dietitian with the Arizona state health department and an ADA spokeswoman.

Johnson also noted, however, that the foods often consumed with cereal tend to be healthy, and the study was another in a series to find a link between breakfast consumption and lower body mass index.

“You can walk away saying breakfast has been shown in lots of different studies to be really important for my children,” Johnson said. “So parents can feel confident that serving cereal is definitely not going to do harm and eating breakfast is the right thing to do.”


I see the word “body mass index” up there too much for this study to have any meaning. I am overweight if you take my body mass index into account and my bodyfat is 6%. Any player in the NFL would be considered obese by the body mass index.

I don’t think breakfast is that necessary. Drinking water up until lunch works fine for me.

I don’t think breakfast is that necessary. Drinking water up until lunch works fine for me.

you are kidding right?:stuck_out_tongue:

man if i dont eat breakfast i can barely move:p

i mean, my breakfast is like 1000kcal!

I agree on BMI, but are you still doing that thing with the water in the morning? What is the time gap between your last meal the night before and your lunch next day?
You’ve told me about the “rationale” behind this, but I can’t recall -fortunately :slight_smile:

Brain Trigger…

Breakfast is the most important meal and sets up your entire brain path for the day. Skip breakfast and find yourself foggy for speed. Everyone is different but 2 out of 3 for a grade is a D.

Your body will adapt to any eating pattern that you offer it. As long as you’re not starving yourself, you should be fine. Sometimes I will eat a piece of fruit for breakfast, sometimes I’ll take some EFAs with it… It’s really no big deal as long as you get enough calories during the day.

The fact you can “adapt to any eating pattern” doesn’t mean it’s suitable to do so. Long hours without food are not the best IMO no matter how much you eat the rest of the day.
Just my opinion here; if you think it works for you, no problem! :slight_smile:

Ok, ok… I’ll be honest here. I started a new job recently so now my eating pattern is a bit different. I have a meal at 7am, noon, and 6pm. So apparently I do eat breakfast… But you don’t need much in the morning to keep you going.

i’m fine without a big breakfast,I’ll have somthing light, mabye some fruit. My energy level and focus is fine in the morning.

I think if I miss breakfast that my metabolism slows down. I’m also more likely to make mistakes, have poor memory and concentration.

e.g of current research

I don’t know whether there are similar studies on adults.