7 Healthcast: Teen obesity
For many teenagers weight control means counting calories, and skipping breakfast would seem to be a good step. But a new report says that approach could backfire.
16-year-old Julie Engle has a daily morning routine. She's up by 6am, dressed and ready for school, even packs her own lunch
The one thing she doesn't have...is breakfast.
"I usually eat a lot of things during the day so I can make up for the breakfast that I missed in the morning," she said.
A new study in the journal "Pediatrics" says that skipping breakfast is increasingly common among teenagers, and can lead to an increased risk of obesity.
"Our theory is that maybe they're bingeing later in the day, in the evening, because they haven't eaten well the first half of the day," said Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota.
The study looked at the breakfast habits of over 2000 kids in 1998 and again in 2003. Researchers found that those who skipped breakfast gained an average of 5-7 lbs.
And the breakfast benefits didn't stop there
"We found that the more times a week that they eat breakfast, the lower their body weight, the lower their obesity risk," Pereira said.
And while many teens may worry about adding to an already crowded morning, experts say breakfast is essential.
"Eating breakfast is one way to set up the day," said Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "That is, to give you a good start, it makes you focus on healthy eating habits all day long."
Breakfast does not have to mean a sit-down meal, on rushed days it can be something as simple as a cereal bar. The most important thing is to have some kind of breakfast and to make a nutritious choice.(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)