Good news for parents of middle schoolers (and hobbits): It turns out kids who eat breakfast at home and a second breakfast when they get to school aren’t any more likely to become obese than those who eat a single breakfast. According to a recent study, middle school students who skipped breakfast or ate breakfast irregularly were more likely to be overweight than those who ate either one or two breakfasts.
The study, published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, was conducted by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. Researchers tracked the breakfast-eating habits and weights of 584 middle school students for two years, from 5th grade to 7th grade, at 12 urban schools that provide free breakfast and lunch. They found that kids who skipped breakfast were twice as likely to be overweight or obese as those who regularly ate breakfast. They also found that weight changes for those who ate a second breakfast once they got to school were no different from those who ate only one breakfast.
These findings are significant for policy makers attempting to balance the need to make sure all children, regardless of family income, have access to school breakfasts with concerns about the obesity epidemic in America. While some people have worried that school breakfasts could contribute to unhealthy weight gain, the study implies the opposite.
According to researcher Marlene Schwartz, “When it comes to the relationship between school breakfast and body weight, our study suggests that two breakfasts are better than none.”