Many Australian children miss breakfast

A doctor says a disturbing number of Australian schoolchildren — 42 percent — skip breakfast at least once a week.

The national MBF Healthwatch survey conducted by TNS market researchers found 22 percent of parents say their children don’t eat breakfast on three to five school days and a further 20 percent skip breakfast on one or two school days — each week.

It is disturbing to find that 42 percent of children are sent to school on one or more days on an empty stomach because it sends a clear message at an early age that breakfast isn’t important, Dr. Christine Bennett, chairwoman of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and MBF, said in a statement. Research shows that skipping breakfast results in reduced learning, reduced attention and poor food choices for the rest of the day.

More than half of the parents said their child missed breakfast because of the pressures of being late for school, or work, or sleeping late.

With many competing demands, we know that Australian families live in a ‘time poor’ society but the importance of making time for children to enjoy a healthy breakfast before going to school cannot be overstated, Bennett said. It can be the start of a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

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