Teens: Eat More – Weigh Less

New research from the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health shows that teenagers who eat breakfast on a regular basis tend to weigh less, exercise more, and eat a healthier diet than teens that usually skip breakfast.  The research is published in the March, 2008, issue of the medical journal Pediatrics.

The study followed 2,216 adolescents and their lifestyle habits for five years beginning at age 14. The researchers were surprised to discover that the more regularly the teens ate breakfast, the lower their body mass index was.  Body mass index, or BMI, is a ratio of height and weight. Those who always skipped breakfast on average had a higher BMI.

According to previous research, 12 to 34 percent of children and teens age 6 to 19 regularly skip breakfast and we also know that 25% of 6 to 19 year olds are overweight or obese.  The researchers also warned about rates of obesity, which have doubled in children and nearly tripled in adolescents over the past two decades, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office.  Obesity has been clearly linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes.

Many people assume that skipping meals will help them to lose weight.  In reality, when we skip a meal the body thinks that food is scarce so it slows the metabolism protect us from starving -we then have less energy so we burn fewer calories. On top of that, the next meal that we eat after skipping a meal is converted to fat and stored around the waste and hips as protection from starvation.  The net result of skipping meals, especially breakfast, is a slower metabolism, less energy and more production of body fat. 

Make 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day your goal this summer and lead your children towards a life of health, happiness, vitality, and longevity.