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Breakfast reduces snacking and improves dietary habits

Breakfast Is Getting 96% of Irish Kids off to a Good Start
 
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Breakfast reduces snacking and improves dietary habits.

21% of girls and 15% of boys living in Ireland are overweight* – bad dietary habits need to be reversed so that children can be protected from a life sentence of obesity. “Breakfast sets you up for the day and can set you up for life,” John Flahavan, Chairman of the Irish Breakfast Cereal Association (IBCA), said at the launch of the IBCA, ‘Back to Breakfast Week’, in Dublin today.

“Our data tells us that 96% per cent of Irish kids are eating breakfast, this is very good news as breakfast is a low fat meal and it makes a really positive contribution to the daily diet, the problems in the overall daily diet are not coming from breakfast, in fact breakfast is a protection against what is happening  elsewhere in the day,” according to Professor Albert Flynn, Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance, IUNA.

“Breakfast is making a really positive contribution to the diet – we now know that most kids are eating breakfast every day and we need to make sure that this good habit is extending into the teenage years, so that teenagers are also getting a good start to the day,” added Professor Flynn.

“The statistics on childhood obesity are worrying. However, the benefits kids are getting from eating breakfast are immense as almost 20 per cent of kids energy intake is coming from breakfast. It is high quality energy intake and reduces the need for snacking on empty calories,” added Prof. Flynn.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Back to Breakfast Week’, Margot Brennan, Irish Nutrition and Dietetic  Institute said: “We  know that younger kids are eating breakfast but this is not necessarily continuing through to the teenage years where there is less parental control and where we know ‘skipping’ meals is an issue, I would encourage all parents to pester their teenagers to make sure they are getting breakfast before they go out the door in the morning, otherwise they are ‘running on empty’, which  will hamper their performance  through the rest of the day.”

Speaking at the event, broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan said: “Many working people find it hard to make sure that their children eat breakfast, but I confess I do nag and I do run after my children to make sure that they eat breakfast before they leave the house in the morning. I don't always succeed but I'll keep trying!” 

“This research confirms that breakfast is making a really positive contribution to the diet in the nutrient contribution it is making, relative to other meals, if we could reduce snacking outside  of meal occasions and reduce the consumption of empty calories we would be truly helping our children to have a better quality of life,” added Mr Flahavan.

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