Children and teenagers who skip breakfast are missing out on key nutrients needed for their growth and development, British research suggests.
The findings appear to support the claim that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.
Scientists used food diaries to assess the breakfast habits of 802 children aged four to 10 and 884 young people aged 11 to 18 across the UK.
More than a quarter of the older participants missed breakfast every day between 2008 and 2012 compared with just 6.5 per cent of the four to 10-year-olds.
The study showed that 31.5 per cent of those who skipped breakfast were not getting the recommended minimum daily amount of iron.
Nineteen per cent did not meet the lower recommended nutrient intake (LRNI) for calcium, and 21.5 per cent did not meet the LRNI for iodine.
None of the children who consumed breakfast every day had a folate intake below the LRNI, compared with 7.3 per cent of those who avoided the morning meal.
Lead researcher Dr Gerda Pot, a lecturer in nutritional science at King’s College London, said: “This study provides evidence that breakfast is key for parents to ensure that their children are getting the nutrition they need.”
The findings are published in the British Journal of Nutrition.