Posted March 3, 2008 – Teens who skip breakfast have a greater risk of being obese than those who eat a morning meal, according to a finding that researchers say may be linked to rising obesity among adolescents.
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Teens who skipped breakfast were five pounds heavier on average, ate less healthy during the day and exercised less frequently than those who ate breakfast, researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics.
The study is the largest to follow the breakfast habits of teens over years and track whether they've become obese, researchers said. The obesity rate for adolescents has tripled over the past 20 years, and African-American teens are particularly at risk, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Surgeon General's Office.
It's important to determine why the rate is growing, the researchers said, because obesity has been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes -- diseases that affect African Americans more than others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There's been a growing body of scientific evidence that breakfast habits might be related to obesity and other health outcomes,” said Mark Pereira, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and a study author.
Skipping the meal may mean “you're more likely to eat the fast food or the vending machine food.” More studies are needed to show whether adding breakfast will reduce a teen's risk of becoming obese, Pereira told OnTheEconomy.com.
Bottom line: Join the breakfast club, teens, to cut your chances of getting fat, and improve your chances of functioning better in school, scientists say. Here's more on breakfast benefits.