Breakfast could improve your child’s school performance?

New research published in the scientific journal Public Health Nutrition has confirmed that, for growing children especially, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Dieticians, doctors, and nutritionists have long recommended not skipping breakfast, especially for people trying to lose weight, and children and teenagers. Eating a healthy breakfast is generally associated with better brain function and other positive health outcomes, such as weight loss and more energy. This new research has provided another link in the chain: eating a healthy breakfast is now positively linked to educational outcomes.

Around 15% of children in the United Kingdom regularly skip breakfast. In the United States, that number is around 12%, although it may be much higher, especially when you take into account children and teens who skip breakfast most days or only occasionally. Breakfast consumption is socially patterned -- children whose parents are financially distressed, or children who come from an socio-economically disadvantaged background, are fare more likely to not eat breakfast. Children who come from a socio-economically disadvantaged background are also fare more likely to experience other negative health outcomes.

In the current research, scientists studied 5,000 children aged between 9 and 11 years. They aimed to examine the link between eating breakfast and performance in educational assessments, and also the relationship between what was eaten for breakfast and educational performance. The results were very interesting: those children who ate a healthy breakfast were twice as likely to get an above-average score on school assessments. However, those students who reported eating an unhealthy breakfast -- such as chips, chocolate, or candy -- did not score better on the tests.

This research should be of interest to all parents with school-age children. The food that growing children eat for breakfast has a real effect on their school performance, which in turn has an effect on their educational attainment. Breakfast foods which have a low glycemic index -- this means they take longer to be broken down in the body, releasing energy at a slower rate -- may have a positive effect on brain function, school performance, and health in general.

In the United States, over 20% of teenagers do not eat breakfast. If you want your child or teenager to do better in school, and to be healthier in general, then encouraging him or her to eat a healthy breakfast is a simple think that can have a broad impact on health and wellbeing. How do you make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast? Well, one easy way to do this is to make sure that you eat a healthy breakfast yourself. Eating breakfast with your child will help your whole family to establish healthy eating habits, and it will prevent junk food cravings later on in the day.

If you are not home when your child leaves for school, make sure that you discuss the importance of eating a healthy breakfast with him or her, and make sure there are healthy foods available at home that your child can prepare for him or herself -- sugar-free oatmeal and a piece of fruit is a tasty meal that will set your child up for the rest of the day.

If you live a busy life, it can be difficult to establish healthy eating patterns. However, making sure that you eat a healthy breakfast can have a far-reaching effect on your wellbeing and that of your child. The best breakfast for your brain and health should include fruit, a dairy product or dairy alternative, and a wholegrain bread or cereal product. So ditch the sugary cereal and try eating a banana and a slice of whole wheat toast, or oatmeal with milk and an apple. Your body will thank you for eating a healthy breakfast -- and your child’s grades may improve, as well.

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