A long-term study examining the eating habits of girls revealed that those who ate breakfast every day were more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not eat breakfast. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and General Mills Inc, tracked 2379 girls from ages 9 to 19 and found the BMI of breakfast eaters to be 0.7 units lower than breakfast skippers. If the breakfast included cereal, the average BMI was 1.65 units lower. NIH President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Barton suggested that the fiber in cereal and healthier foods that normally accompany cereal (eg, milk and juice) may account for the reduced BMI. As the girls got older, their breakfast consumption dropped and they were prone to eating fattier foods later in the day. While the study did not specify what types of cereal the girls were eating, according to John Kirwan of Case Western Reserve University's Schwartz Center for Nutrition and Metabolism, "those who eat breakfast on a regular basis are more likely to have a structured eating plan throughout the day and are less likely to snack between meals."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.