Teenagers who regularly eat breakfast tend to weigh less, exercise more and eat a more healthful diet than their breakfast-skipping peers, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
The study involved 2,216 adolescents in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota whose eating patterns, weight and other lifestyle issues were tracked for five years. They were just under 15 years old when they entered the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics.
The more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was, according to the study. BMI is a measure of body weight relative to height. Those who always skipped breakfast on average weighed about 5 pounds more than their peers who ate the meal every day.
"What we found in the study was that kids who eat breakfast frequently, and especially every day, they're more healthy overall in terms of their lifestyle," Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.
"They're much more physically active and they have a better diet overall. So they have lower fat intake, lower cholesterol intake, higher fibre intake."
An estimated 25 percent of U.S. children regularly skip breakfast, the researchers said. This comes amid rising obesity rates among young people.
Full report: Breakfast keeps U.S. teens lean