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The 411: Youth

Teens benefit from breakfast

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August 9, 2011 | 1,486 views | Post a comment

HOUSTON -- Teens who start their day without breakfast are twice as likely to have diets low in iron -- a shortfall that could be hurting their grades.

“Breakfast supplies more than just the energy kids need to get through the morning,” said Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Teens who eat breakfast are also two to five times more likely to consume at least two-thirds the recommended amounts of most vitamins and minerals, including iron.”

Iron-deficiency anemia has long been known to have a negative effect on behavior and learning.

Eating breakfast has been linked to improved memory, grades, school attendance, and punctuality in children. In addition, intakes of other vitamins and minerals, including zinc, calcium, and folic acid, are higher among breakfast-eaters, while fat consumption is lower.

It’s important for parents to realize that the nutrients teens miss when they’re allowed to skip breakfast are rarely recouped during other meals,” said Nicklas, also a researcher at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center.

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