When it comes to school breakfasts, two is better than none, says a new report released Thursday in the journal Pediatric Obesity.
Researchers tracked nearly 600 middle-school students from fifth to seventh grade, looking to see if students ate no breakfast; ate breakfast at home or school; or ate both — and whether that affected obesity rates. The result: Weight gain among students who ate “double-breakfast” was no different than that seen among all other students. Meanwhile, the risk of obesity doubled among students who skipped breakfast or ate it inconsistently.
“It seems it’s a bigger problem to have kids skipping breakfast than to have these kids eating two breakfasts,” says Marlene Schwartz of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and one of the study’s authors.
“This study … debunks an important misconception that school breakfast contributes to childhood obesity,” says Duke Storen from Share Our Strength, a national group that runs anti-hunger and nutrition programs for children.
while direct opposition to free faculty breakfast is strange, says Storen, officers once in a while flinch at enforcing “various breakfast fashions” designed to inspire using the program — reminiscent of providing breakfast intake hold of-and-go luggage or in lecture rooms, moderately than traditional sit-down foods in a cafeteria. that’s a priority, say hunger advocates, because whereas eligibility rules for free and diminished price breakfast are the same as for lunch, handiest about half as many kids get subsidized breakfast as obtain lunch, in line with the food research and motion heart, an advocacy crew.
indeed, the find out about was inspired in part via real-world concerns that college breakfast packages may promote obesity, says Schwartz.
In 2012, the administration of New York city’s then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg adversarial offering breakfast in classrooms as a substitute of school cafeterias, arguing that the exchange would exacerbate childhood obesity. 12 months later, an American Journal of Public well being learn about confirmed that, on moderate, youngsters eating two breakfasts in New York city schools consumed ninety-five more calories day-to-day than did these consuming one breakfast.
Researchers of the brand new learn about didn’t examine why consuming double breakfasts didn’t impact obesity, but skipping the meal did. however, Schwartz has a number of hypotheses. First, faculty breakfast is reasonably healthful; “they weren’t consuming donuts or Denny’s Grand Slam,” she says.
second, youngsters who skip breakfast — a habit that doubled in frequency between grades 5 and 7, according to the study — are more likely to overeat later within the day. And, in fact, simply the truth that rising young people frequently need plenty of meals to grow means that they may be able to eat extra without essentially gaining weight.
The learn about additionally draws a direct line between school breakfast and fighting childhood starvation, underscoring the concept that malnourishment and weight problems in the U.S. are not so many opposites as two aspects of the identical coin.
“the newest figures exhibit that 15 million youngsters are living in food insecure households,” says Heather Hardline-Grafton, a senior researcher at FRAC. “whereas obesity is a significant issue for many children in us, so, too, is meals insecurity.”
Tracie McMillan is the author of The American Way of Eating, a New York Times best-seller, and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. You can follow her on Twitter @tmmcmillan.
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