BALTIMORE – Girls who regularly ate breakfast, particularly one that includes cereal, were slimmer than those who skipped the morning meal, according to a study that tracked nearly 2,400 girls for 10 years.
Girls who ate breakfast of any type had a lower average body mass index, a common obesity gauge, than those who said they didn’t. The index was even lower for girls who said they ate cereal for breakfast, according to findings of the study conducted by the Maryland Medical Research Institute. The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health and cereal-maker General Mills.
“Not eating breakfast is the worst thing you can do, that’s really the take-home message for teenage girls,” said study author Bruce Barton, the Maryland institute’s president and CEO.
The fiber in cereal and healthier foods that normally accompany cereal, such as milk and orange juice, may account for the lower body mass index among cereal eaters, Barton said.
The results were gleaned from a larger NIH survey of 2,379 girls in California, Ohio and Maryland who were tracked between ages 9 and 19. Results of the study appear in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.