Skipping Breakfast Increases Likelihood of Life-Long Health Problems

Sofie Blaj, Staff Writer

It’s not unusual for students to rush off to school without much more in their stomach than half a granola bar or an undercooked piece of toast.

According to a University of Minnesota study, approximately 60% of students skip breakfast each morning.

For years, we have heard from adults that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet most of us continue to ignore this wisdom.

“I’m always in such a rush and it’s really hard to eat something healthy yet fast, so normally, I just don’t eat anything,” said freshman Harley Venable.

Venable added that he finds it hard to focus during class when he is hungry. As a result of his frequently famished state, he purchases a lot of hot lunches in the cafeteria.

Breakfast is particularly important because it replenishes the nutrient stores that have been depleted since dinner time. Replacing these essential vitamins, minerals, and energy stores is a necessity for students who hope to function optimally at school.

It can be challenging to eat right so early in the morning, especially when we’re rushed; however, skipping breakfast does much more harm than good.

Those who make it a regular practice to eat breakfast generally have healthier lifestyles than those who don’t. Not eating in the morning can cause fatigue, headaches, and can diminish mental performance throughout the day, according to Healthline, a website that publishes health and wellness information.

An article published by Athlos Academies, a charter school network, outlined the academic boost that eating breakfast brings to students. For example, children who eat breakfast reportedly perform better on standardized tests than those who skip out on eating.

The more often we skip breakfast, the more we normalize and reinforce a bad habit, 1 that may end up staying with us as we age.  WebMD outlined that those who skipped breakfast regularly are 87% more likely to die from heart-related causes later on in life.

According to, a health channel that promotes healthy living and lifestyle, children who skip breakfast are significantly heavier than those who do eat breakfast. Furthermore, kids who skip are more likely to look towards high-sodium and high-fat snacks instead of food high in fiber and filled with essential nutrients.

Excess sodium present in many junk foods is detrimental to the overall condition of our bodies. An article published by LiveScience says that eating unhealthily could result in many problems with the heart and liver.

Students who skimp out on healthy breakfasts also have poor time management skills and see an overall decrease in school performance.

Making time for breakfast does more than fuel our tank so that we can be at our physical and mental best. It also trains us to make good decisions throughout the day. For example, many of the students I’ve observed complaining about skipping breakfast also tend to skip lunch.

While high schoolers who restrict themselves may see this as a method of weight loss, these students are actually predisposed to heavily snacking while at home, filling their bodies with junk and fat that does not give the requisite energy our bodies need, but does get stored as fat and facilitates weight gain.

Part of the problem is that students do not know what constitutes a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast should consist of a variety of food including a dairy product, whole grains and a source of protein.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states on its web site, “Many teens need more of [these] nutrients [such as] calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber.” Each day, teenagers should have a total fiber intake of 25-31 grams in order to maintain healthy bodily functions. 4 servings a day of calcium is recommended to keep our bones healthy and strong.

Ultimately, children require fewer calories than adults and teenagers but every amount varies based on gender and activity level. However, these calories need to have nutritional value. Poptarts and Cinnamon Toast Crunch every morning for breakfast will not cut it.

Charles Hanson, a Walnut Creek pediatrician, said, “If you do not eat breakfast at all, it definitely impacts your learning and all kids should eat a hearty breakfast in the morning.”

Hanson added that, although some teens feel sluggish after eating breakfast, it is important to give the body the nutrients it needs to perform sufficiently.

Examples of breakfasts that fulfill the needs of a typical teen include oatmeal with berries and peanut butter, an egg omelet with vegetables and cheese, or a bowl of yogurt with granola and fruit on top. These will keep us full and focused throughout the school day. We have learned vigorously about the food pyramid throughout middle school and Human Social Development, so formulating a healthy breakfast shouldn’t be that difficult when most of these simple ingredients are staples in everyone’s pantry.

The real issue lies with our laziness.

To stop skipping breakfast or finding ourselves rushing and eating an unhealthy breakfast, there are many small lifestyle changes we can make. If students wake up even 5 minutes earlier, this will provide more than enough time to eat a healthy meal before school. And, students can try to set out breakfast the night before so they remember the following morning.

Simply going to bed at a reasonable hour will also allow students to get up on time in the morning and have time to put effort into their breakfast. A healthy breakfast doesn’t always have to be a home-cooked meal. If you truly are running late, that’s no excuse to skip breakfast. A bar low in sugar and high in protein could suffice on the walk to school.

Kids should put thought into what they eat. If we continue to run on iced coffee until lunch, we are likely to be unproductive, unhappy, and unhealthy for a lifetime.