A growing number of children are eating free breakfasts at school, but the push to provide morning meals for all children in low-income communities has long been accompanied by the concern that it might mean more kids end up eating a double breakfast, one at home and one at school, increasing their risk of obesity.
A new study suggests that it is not children who indulge twice, but those who skip breakfast altogether, who are more likely to be overweight. In other words, two breakfasts appear to be better than none, said Marlene Schwartz, one of the researchers at the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
然而，一项新的研究表明，不吃早餐的孩子会比吃两顿早餐的孩子们更容易变胖。“换句话说，吃两份早餐比不吃早餐要好一些“，康涅狄格州大学食品政策和肥胖路德中心的研究员马琳 • 施瓦茨说。
"Our study does add to the argument that it's really important to make sure that as many kids as possible are getting a healthy breakfast," said Schwartz. “Especially in low-income communities, having universal access to healthy breakfasts is helpful."
Schwartz and her fellow researchers studied students from 12 schools, following them from fifth grade to seventh grade and recording both their breakfast habits and their weight. There weren't many double-breakfast eaters; they accounted for only about one in every 10 students. But their weight change over the years was no different than the average weight change of all students, according to the study.
Breakfast-skippers, however, and students who ate school breakfasts inconsistently-who were more commonly girls than boys-were twice more likely to be overweight or obese than double-breakfast eaters.
Though prior studies also have found that skipping breakfast is associated with weight problems, it's not clear why the two appear to be linked. It's impossible to know for sure what's really happening without more consistent and reliable data about what people eat throughout the day, Schwartz said.
One assumption is that people who skip breakfast become so hungry that they eat more later in the day, or they choose foods that aren't as healthy. Another is that overweight people are more likely to skip breakfast in an attempt to control their weight.
Schwartz emphasized that free school breakfasts must meet strict federal nutrition guidelines-and that might be one important reason why double-breakfast eaters aren't gaining weight more quickly than other students.