We're always telling teens what to do such as exercise for an hour a day and get eight to nine hours of sleep a night—so why stop now? Here's another one: eat breakfast!
A problem within a problem. About one in five school-aged children (ages six to 19) are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 8 to 12 percent of all school-age kids and 20-30 percent of teens skip breakfast. Is skipping breakfast adding to the problem?
Why do they skip breakfast? Excuses, excuses: "I don't have time" or "I'm not hungry" or "I'm too tired — NEED MORE SLEEP!" In fact, they probably haven't gotten enough sleep. Biologically speaking, their sleep cycle is changing to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. Sadly, most school schedules don't follow the biological schedule.
Yet another excuse: "I want to lose weight." In my experience over the years, skipping breakfast is more likely to cause weight gain. Many teens skip breakfast and lunch, and when they get home they're famished and binge eat. Undereating leads to overeating, and overeating leads to weight gain. A 2008 study published in Pediatrics found that adolescents who ate breakfast daily had a lower body mass index than teens who never or only occasionally ate breakfast.
What they're skipping are the benefits of eating breakfast.
Food for thought: Make breakfast a habit — a good habit. While a sit-down family breakfast with all the major food groups is ideal, a "take out" breakfast is the next best thing. Good options include yogurt, granola or breakfast bars, dry cereal, and fresh or dried fruit. Want more breakfast ideas? Check out Mr. Breakfast.