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The Most Important Meal of the Day

By Joanna Cosgrove | September 5, 2011

Kellogg consumer survey exposes breakfast attitudes and behaviors.

A well-balanced breakfast is an essential component to the start of every day but it’s also one of the most overlooked meals. According to the American Dietetic Association, breakfast provides an essential AM glucose jumpstart the body needs to get its engine revving after a nighttime of no food. But after conducting a sweeping study of American attitudes toward breakfast, cereal giant Kellogg, Battle Creek, MI, found that although Americans believe breakfast is important, the reality of hectic morning schedules causes a large portion of them to skip it.

“We’ve all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” commented Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician and award-winning author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. “And that’s for good reason. After sleeping, we need to re-fuel our brains and bodies for the day.  Without a healthy breakfast, we simply are not as likely to function at our best.”
Kellogg surveyed more than 14,000 Americans of varying ethnicities, income levels, geographic regions and ages on the subject of breakfast and the morning mealtime routine. They found that while more than half (54%) of all adults would like to eat breakfast every day, in reality only one-third (34%) actually do.
Most of the mothers surveyed (89%) expressed that they wanted their kids to eat breakfast every day. However, 40% of moms reported their child doesn’t eat breakfast daily. Although moms reported a desire to see their kids relax in the morning and concentrate on eating breakfast, they said their kids were usually too busy watching television, getting their homework done or getting ready for school to eat.
When it came down to breakfast consumption among age groups, the report found that mostly all toddlers and preschool-age children eat breakfast. The consumption of breakfast dipped as American children grew older. Seventy-seven percent of young children ate breakfast every day, however that number fell to 50% for kids in their middle-school years, and even further to 36% for high school-aged students.
To help reverse those breakfast trends, Kellogg, which sponsored the survey, convened a panel of seven third-party nutrition experts that have been dubbed the Kellogg Breakfast Council. Kellogg said the Council is “dedicated to helping people understand nutrition information, and incorporate nutritious foods and habits into the diet.” One of these experts is Dr. Jana. The other six members include experts in the fields of community, child and school nutrition; food security; weight management; public health; family and consumer science; and boomer health.  

“Making sure that children from a very young age are in the habit of eating a healthy breakfast can significantly help improve their overall health and well-being —both during the school year and throughout the summer months,” said Dr. Jana.

Kellogg was quick to point out the “dynamic duo” of cereal and milk as “a leading, quick and tasty source of 10 nutrients important to growing bodies, including calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin D.” The company went on to note studies that affirmed “regular cereal eaters, including children, are less likely to be overweight and have more positive nutrient intake profiles than those who eat cereal less frequently.”

The company also positioned cereals as “a convenient, affordable breakfast option,” which “helps families start the day with energy and valuable nutrients they might otherwise miss.” 
“Kellogg understands—we're parents, too, and we are committed to providing moms a variety of cereals that help make mornings simple while offering nutrition, taste and value,” said Doug VanDeVelde, senior vice president, morning foods marketing and innovation for Kellogg. “At Kellogg’s, we know great breakfasts lead to great days, and we are passionate about sharing that message and helping people start each morning off right.”
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