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Skip Breakfast, Pack on the Pounds
Date:3/3/2008

Teens who start the day with a healthful meal tend to stay trimmer, study suggests

MONDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- For teens looking to keep weight off, it doesn't have to be a breakfast of champions, but it should be some kind of breakfast -- and preferably a healthy one.

Yet another study is confirming that adolescents who skip breakfast have a higher risk of being overweight.

"There's a pretty significant inverse association between how frequently kids report eating breakfast and how much weight they gain over time, and we took into account other dietary factors and physical activity," said Mark Pereira, co-author of the study, published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

"It's interesting to note that the kids who eat breakfast on a daily basis overall have a much better diet and are more physically active," Pereira said.

Added Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y.: "Grandma and Mom are right. When we skip breakfast, especially in the teenage years, then kids tend to snack and graze."

More than one-third of teens aged 12 to 19 are now overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. And over the past two decades, the proportion of children who are overweight has doubled; among teens, the proportion has tripled, according to background information with the study.

An estimated 12 percent to 34 percent of children and adolescents skip breakfast on a regular basis, a number that increases with age. Previous studies have linked breakfast skipping with a greater tendency to gain weight.

"There has been quite a lot of published scientific literature already on the relationship between breakfast habits in both children as well as adults and obesity risk," said Pereira, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "It's pretty darn consistent i
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