Breakfast Consumption and Physical Fitness in Elementary School Children
Background and Purpose: Breakfast consumption is associated with many benefits, including lower rates of school absenteeism and tardiness, improved cognitive function, healthy eating, increased physical activity, and lower body weight, but it is estimated that 20% of children and 31.5% of teens skip breakfast. This study examines the relationship between breakfast consumption and performance on an endurance run among 10-12 year old children. Methods: Seventy-two children filled out questionnaires about breakfast and physical activity habits and participated in a researcher-facilitated fitness test. Results: Daily breakfast consumers were 3.82 times more likely to be in the healthy fitness zone for the endurance test ((OR) 3.82, 95% CI 1.07-13.73) compared to those who only sometimes consume breakfast. Conclusions and Implications: Emphasizing the importance of eating breakfast may be a significant component to reiterate in physical education curriculum and interventions focused on health. Additionally, increasing in-classroom school breakfast programs may contribute to improvements in children’s physical fitness.