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Breakfast may prevent teen obesity

Teenagers who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to become obese in later life than those who skip their morning meal, research shows.

Experts examined how often 2,200 teenagers ate breakfast and compared this with their change in body weight over time.

Teenagers who ate breakfast were more likely to be physically active than those who did not.

Five years on, these adolescents tended to gain less weight and have lower body mass index levels than those who skipped breakfast as adolescents.

Study author Mark Pereira said: “Although adolescents may think that skipping breakfast seems like a good way to save on calories, findings suggest the opposite.

“Eating a healthy breakfast may help adolescents avoid overeating later in the day and disrupt unhealthy eating patterns, such as not eating early in the day and eating a lot late in the evening.”

It is estimated that between 12 and 24% of children and adolescents regularly skip breakfast, and has been found to increase with age.

Study author Dianne Neumark-Sztainer added: “The dose-response findings between breakfast frequency and obesity risk, even taking into account physical activity and other dietary factors, suggests that eating breakfast may have important effects on overall diet and obesity risk, but experimental studies are needed to confirm these observations.”