A recent research shows that skipping breakfast is far worse than eating the meal twice: one at home and another one at school’s cafeteria.
Researchers found that kids who do not eat breakfast at all are twice as likely of becoming overweight or obese as kids who consume it twice.
The recent study should now ease concerns that free breakfast in schools may be responsible for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. since children from middle-income families might get tempted to consume a double breakfast and, thus, get fat.
Marlene Schwartz, lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Connecticut, noted that the findings suggest that it is crucial for kids to get a healthy breakfast every day. Children from poor families often have to skip breakfast since their parents cannot provide them with enough nutritious meals.
According to a 2012 report, about 4 million U.S. households are struggling with poverty and do not have enough food to put on their kids’ plates. So, the federal government believes that free meals in schools could alleviate the situation.
Although, most U.S. schools can now provide free breakfasts to their students, millions of kids are skipping it, despite being entirely eligible.
Study authors analyzed fifth graders from a dozen schools in Connecticut for two years. Volunteers’ weight was tracked and so were their eating habits. One in 10 kids was eating breakfast twice, but researchers didn’t notice any change in their weight.
On the other hand, there was a problem with those that skipped breakfast or ate it every now and then. This particular group had a double risk of becoming obese or overweight than the first group.
The latest study adds to the growing evidence that skipping meals can promote weight gain on the long term. Nevertheless, no study has managed so far to find an explanation for the phenomenon.
Yet, researchers have some theories. It could be that ‘breakfast-skippers’ become so hungry that they either eat more than they need or indulge in high-fat meals or other super unhealthy foods. According to another theory, people who are already overweight are more likely to skip breakfast to lose weight.
Study investigators also believe that those who eat breakfast twice do not get fat because school meals are quite healthy. Schwartz said that they do not consume ‘two breakfasts of donuts.’ Instead school meals include whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and fruits just like a healthy snack does.
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