Eating breakfast at home can prevent psychosocial health problems in youth

  • The debate over the importance of breakfast continues, with many experts insisting that breakfast is an essential part of a healthy diet.
  • Previous research has suggested that eating breakfast may be especially important for young people, fueling them for a day at school.
  • Now, a new Spanish study shows that eating a balanced breakfast at home improves psychosocial health in children and adolescents.
  • The results showed that skipping breakfast or eating away from home was associated with a higher risk of physical and mental health problems.

As the saying often goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

But according to what Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) About 20% of children in the United States do not eat breakfast. Furthermore, children from low-income families and teenagers of any socioeconomic status are more likely to skip breakfast.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children and adolescents consume breakfast for a healthy body weight, improved nutrition, better memory, better test scores, and better attention. Breakfast helps provide a balance of nutrients during the day, which can be difficult to achieve if you skip breakfast.

For young people, eating a regular breakfast has been shown to be positively associated School performance and academic achievement.

Now, a new study involving Spanish children and adolescents has found that eating breakfast at home is also associated with better psychosocial health. The results were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Psychosocial health is a term used to describe emotional, social and physical well-being. It includes psychological well-being as well as social and collective well-being.

In the new study, the psychosocial health of 3,772 children and adolescents in Spain was measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) with 5 subscales:

  1. Emotional problems
  2. Conduct problems
  3. Hyperactivity
  4. Friends problem
  5. Social behavior

Participants were scored in each domain, and higher overall scores indicated psychosocial problems. Breakfast eating habits, such as location and food choices, were also scored.

Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain and lead author of the study. said José Francisco López-Gil, Ph.D. Medical News Today:

“The association between skipping breakfast and psychosocial health problems has been previously described in the literature in some scientific articles. However, the fact that eating breakfast away from home is associated with greater psychosocial health problems is a new aspect of our study.”

The researchers divided the participants into breakfast categories based on where and what they ate:

  1. at home
  2. outside the house
  3. No breakfast

All results were gathered by a parent-led SDQ questionnaire. Of the participants, 98.9% ate breakfast, of which 95.8% ate at home.

Youth who skipped breakfast or ate lunch outside the home had higher SDQ scores and a higher likelihood of psychosocial problems.

“The odds of having a psychosocial health problem were greater for breakfast situation (eg, breakfast or skipping breakfast), followed by breakfast location (eg at home or away from home), than for type of breakfast.”

– Dr. López-Gil, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and lead author of the study

The study assessed what young people were eating using guidelines from the Spanish National Health Survey.

Researchers divided foods and beverages into 5 categories:

  1. Coffee, milk, tea, chocolate, cocoa, yogurt, etc.
  2. Bread, toast, cookies, pastries, etc.
  3. Fruit, juice, or both
  4. Eggs, cheese, ham, etc.
  5. other foods

The researchers then looked at the effects of different foods on psychosocial health.

“Not eating certain food groups, such as dairy or grains, was associated with greater psychosocial health problems, while not eating others (eg, processed meats) was associated with fewer psychosocial problems,” Dr. Lopez-Gil. said

“Our results suggest the importance of eating this food at home if possible, including some foods (eg, dairy, grains) and reducing others (eg, processed meats).”

Dr. Lopez-Gil points out other factors that may be involved in determining psychosocial health:

“One possible reason justifying these results is that eating at home (usually with family members) can lead to a formal offering. [or] informal time in which parents [or] Parents can connect with their children’s emotional well-being.”

Similarly, Dr. Lopez-Gil noted that eating out “is associated with consumption of energy-dense and high-fat foods, as well as micronutrient deficiencies, which may (at least partially) explain this finding.”

“Studies with different designs are needed to establish the direction of these associations (eg, longitudinal studies) or cause-effect relationships (eg, intervention studies). Such designs may provide more robust evidence of this association and thus provide stronger public health recommendations.”

– Dr. López-Gil, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and lead author of the study

If a balanced breakfast eaten at home is best for psychosocial health, what should young people eat before school?

Dr. is a board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. Gina Posner said. MNT:

“Studies showed that things like eggs weren’t good. I usually recommend things that are high in protein and low in sugar to give kids long-term energy. I don’t like high-fat foods for breakfast—doughnuts, muffins, sugary cereal. I like yogurt, eggs. like, [and] Low Sugar Cereals.”

A 2007 study suggests that a breakfast high in tryptophan, found in dairy, oats, nuts and seeds, can help with quality sleep and mental health in children. In addition to providing tryptophan, dairy products contain vitamin D, which is associated with Lower levels of anxiety.

And dietary fiber, which is important for gut health, has been linked to lower odds of depression, so a breakfast high in fiber foods, such as wholegrain cereals and bread, fruit, nuts and seeds, is particularly beneficial.

For a cost-effective breakfast that will set kids up for the day and help boost their mental health, try wholegrain toast with oatmeal, yogurt, or peanut butter. If the budget allows, add some fruit or unsweetened juice to increase the vitamin content.

“I think breakfast is a really important meal, even if it’s just a quick piece of toast with some peanut butter on it. It really helps to get some energy mentally.

– Dr. Gina Posner, a board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center

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