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Skipping breakfast among 8-9 year old children is associated with teacher-reported but not objectively measured academic performance two years later

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Smith, KJ ORCID: 0000-0003-2793-3460, Blizzard, L ORCID: 0000-0002-9541-6943, McNaughton, SA, Gall, SL ORCID: 0000-0002-5138-2526, Breslin, MC ORCID: 0000-0002-8135-3136, Wake, M and Venn, AJ ORCID: 0000-0001-7090-1398 2017 , 'Skipping breakfast among 8-9 year old children is associated with teacher-reported but not objectively measured academic performance two years later' , BMC Nutrition, vol. 3 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1186/s40795-017-0205-8.

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Abstract

Background: Skipping breakfast, habitually and when experimentally manipulated, has been linked in the shortterm to poorer academic performance in children. Little is known about the longer-term effects. This study examined whether skipping breakfast at aged 8-9 years predicted poorer academic performance and classroom behavior 2 years later.Methods: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) collected data during 2008 (aged 8-9 years) and 2010(aged 10-11 years). Breakfast consumption was reported by a parent/caregiver on three occasions within 4 weeks during2008: by face-to-face interview and two subsequent questionnaires. Children who skipped breakfast on at least one of the3 days were classified as breakfast skippers. During 2010, the child’s teacher assessed their academic performance relativeto other children in the same grade (below/far below average; average; above/far above average) and classroombehavior. Objective literacy and numeracy outcomes (reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy, scorerange 0-1000) were obtained via linkage to Australian standardized national assessment program (NAPLAN)data in Year 5 (aged 10-11 years). Ordinal and linear regression were used, adjusted for sex, age andsociodemographic variables.Results: At baseline, 243 (10.7%) of the 2280 children skipped breakfast on at least 1 day. Two years later,breakfast skippers were more likely to have poorer teacher-reported reading (RR: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.29),mathematics (RR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.20) and overall academic achievement (RR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.25) thannon-skippers. In contrast, differences in objective NAPLAN scores were small (Conclusion: In this national sample of 8-9 year old Australian children, skipping breakfast occurred at lowlevels, and showed little association with measured academic performance 2 years later. This contrasted withteacher perceptions of lower academic performance among skippers than non-skippers, most likely reflectingconfounding. This underscores the importance of using objective measures of academic performance to avoidinflated effect estimates and, potentially, unnecessary and costly population interventions to increase breakfastconsumption.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Smith, KJ and Blizzard, L and McNaughton, SA and Gall, SL and Breslin, MC and Wake, M and Venn, AJ
Keywords: Skipping breakfast, academic performance, behaviour, school, longitudinal, breakfast
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Nutrition
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
ISSN: 2055-0928
DOI / ID Number: 10.1186/s40795-017-0205-8
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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