How does skipping breakfast affect the health of teenagers?


 A surfeit of scholars and researchers has emphasized the critical role of breakfast as the most important meal of the day.  As such,  the need to take breakfast across all the age have been emphasized given the fact that it recharges the brain as well as the brain with energy to kick-start the metabolism so the body can start burning the calories.  However, there is a common trend, where Australian’s teens are skipping breakfast. In light of this, a survey by Smith et al. (2017) found that 25% of boys and 26% of girls between the age of 14 and 17 were skipping breakfast.  On this understanding, this report to vividly explore the impact of skipping breakfast on the teenagers’ health.


Obesity has become a global epidemic and its prevalence has constantly increased rapidly across all the age groups. As such, Goyal, and Julka (2014) contends that obesity is a metabolic disorder that is caused by an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure resulting to the surplus accumulation of fat in a range of adipose tissues as well as organs. In light of this, the impact of skipping meals more so the breakfast among the teenagers may have a detrimental effect s on the body weight.  Skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity in the Australian population. In fact, a cross-sectional study by Williams (2007) revealed that skipping breakfast among the teenagers is linked with greater body mass index. Consequently, children, ho skip breakfast are considered to be heavier compared to those who take (Better Health Chanel, 2018).  This is because children who skip breakfast tend to consume more snacks and snack taken between meals provide approximately one-quarter of energy intake per day (Savige, et al. 2007).  Fayet-Moore et al. (2016) found that skipping breakfast among the teenagers may cause them to over-eat subsequent meals, which lead to consumption of more calories during sedentary hours of the day, which lead to them being overweight.  Goyal and Julka (2014) posit that when one skip a meal, the body stops working as fast so as to conserve fuel.  The basal metabolic rate becomes slow so as to compensate for the calories restriction. Given the fact that in the morning the metabolism has been slow during sleep, increased fasting as a result of skipping breakfast reduces the ability of the body to burn more calories.  On this understanding, skipping breakfast among the teens is therefore associated with high BMI as they tend to overeat in the subsequent meals.

Mental health

Consumption of breakfast is associated with better mental health among the teenagers.  In this view, breakfast is considered important among the children and adolescents who are not fully grown as they do not have more ability in comparison to adult to store essential nutrients for a period of fasting.  A study by Jacka et al. (2013) found that teenagers who took breakfast daily were less likely to experience mental distress.  This has been echoed by O’Sullivan et al. (2009) who espouse that consuming breakfast with various food groups increase mineral and vitamin intake at the beginning of the day, which can lead to better mental health in teenagers.  However, skipping breakfast hinder the effective growth of the brain because one will not have the needed nutrients to promote growth and brain power.  For instance, Omega-3 fatty acid when taken enhances brain plasticity and consequently improves memory and learning.  A study by O’Sullivan et al. (2009) revealed that breakfast skipping among the teenagers increases the risk of depressive moods and stress.  From the above analysis, it is deducible that breakfast skipping denies teenagers important nutrients and minerals that are important for the wellbeing of their mental development which leads to mental health issues such as anxiety and stress.

Bone density

Eating breakfast it is an important aspect of nutritional wellbeing. A range of studies recognizes that inadequate intake of nutrients leads to poor bone status especially in teenagers.  A study by Kuroda et al. (2013) revealed that inadequate nutrients intake may negatively affect the Bone mineral density in teenagers. This is because skipping breakfast denies them the opportunity to take minerals such as calcium that is important for strong bones in children and teenagers.  A study by Kuroda et al. (2013) examined the effect of skipping breakfast and revealed that teenagers who skipped breakfast experienced bone loss unlike those who did not. From this, it is evident that breakfast is fundamental in bone mineral density among the teenagers.  Besides, lower bone mineral density is a risk factor for osteoporosis.  Kuroda et al. (2013) contemplate that the bone at teenage age is still developing and regularly skipping the breakfast means that mineral such as calcium will not be deposited into their bone so as to make them strong and dense hence limited peak bone mass. Therefore, skipping breakfast leads to inadequate intake of nutrients that are important for dense and strong bones in teenagers.


The importance of sleep in the overall well being and health of human being cannot be overlooked. As such, teenagers who skip breakfast and consume more junk food subject their bodies and minds to suffering.  A study by Liu et al. (2013), found that children who take regular breakfast are likely to have a well-structured lifestyle, which translates to better-structured sleep and are less likely to be fatigued.  These findings are complementary to St-Onge (2016), who found that skipping breakfast is positively correlated with poor sleep quality.  In reference to the National Sleep Foundation, 9-11 hours and 8-10 hours are recommended for children between the age of 6-13 and 14-17 years respectively (Hirshkowitz et al. 2015). Skipping breakfast makes the body to produce stress hormones that hinder restful sleep.  However, when one takes breakfast, the body is able to understand there are enough foods, which switches on the sleep as well as energy system.  Therefore, having quality breakfast provide the right balance of nutrients in the body, which speed up the metabolism, stabilise blood sugar and consequently quality sleep. However, skipping breakfast makes children to consumer more in subsequent meals, which decrease the quality of sleep. On this understanding, it is deducible that skipping breakfast decreases the quality of sleep in teenagers.

Academic performance

Consumption of breakfast is associated with the positive impact on the cognitive performance of teenagers and consequently academic performance. Skipping breakfast in teenagers significantly lowers their nutritional status.  The imperative of nutrition in the well being of humans is clear, therefore; skipping breakfast has a direct implication on how the brain functions.  In this view, the performance of teenagers can be boosted by consuming quality breakfast as skipping interferes with learning and cognition.  This is complementary to Adolphus et al, (2013), findings that skipping breakfast lead to short-term hunger that affect the attention span of the children making it hard to learn.  As a result of skipping this meal, teenagers find it hard to have focused attention, coping with challenging mental tasks as well as recalling leading to deterioration in academic performance.  According to Mahoney et al. (2005), quality breakfast enhances academic performance as well as enjoyment in the school.  On the other hand, a study by Wesnes et al. (2003) shows that children who skip breakfast often, are usually likely to have decline memory in the morning leading to disruptive behaviour in the class and high rate of absenteeism.  Therefore, it is deducible that skipping breakfast declines the memory, attention, and brain capacity, which negatively impact the academic performance.


From the analysis above, it is evident that skipping breakfast has a negative impact on the health and general well being of teenagers. On this understanding, the analysis above has identified a range of impact that results from skipping breakfast.  First, skipping breakfast has been found to increase obesity. This is because teenagers who skip breakfast tend to overeat in subsequent meals or snack on energy-dense foods that lead to overweight. The second impact is a negative effect on mental health that results from distress and stress caused by skipping breakfast. In addition, skipping breakfast means inadequate nutrient that is fundamental for brain growth and brain power. The third impact is a poor academic performance that results from the low level of attention result from short-term hunger making learning difficult and also challenges in recalling.  The other impact is poor quality sleep that results from poor eating and reduces bone density because of lack of essential nutrients such as calcium that is important for bone density.  It is recommended to carry more study across different races so as to generalize the results as the sources used in this research relate to Australians teenagers.


In conclusion, the report has analysed the negative impact of skipping breakfast among the teenagers. Nevertheless, it is important to promote quality and daily consumption of breakfast in order to eradicate and prevent negative consequences of skipping breakfast.  Breakfast is the most important meal but from the above analysis, teenagers are increasingly skipping meals. Therefore, there is a need to create awareness on the need of taking breakfast daily.


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