Teenagers who eat breakfast consume more daily calories but weigh less than those who skip the first meal of the day, a study released Monday in the United States showed.

"This study clearly supports what other studies have shown: kids who skip breakfast tend to gain more weight, and therefore would be at a higher risk for obesity," said Dr Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota's department of epidemiology and community health, which conducted the study.

The number of teenagers in the United States with a weight problem has tripled in the past 20 years, according to the "F as in Fat" report, issued last year by the Trust for America's Health.

Sixteen percent of American teenage boys and 10 percent of teen girls were overweight, "F as in Fat" said, citing a biennial study dating from 2005.

Teens who start their day with breakfast tend to consume more calories, carbohydrate and fiber over the course of the day than those who skipped the meal, the University of Minnesota study, dubbed "Project EAT (Eating Among Teens)", showed.

At the same time, the breakfast-eaters weighed less, said Pereira.

"The kids at a lower obesity-risk are the ones who eat breakfast every day," he said.

Project EAT observed more than 2,200 teens over five years.

Pereira said an experimental study into breakfast habits, as opposed to an observational study such as Project EAT, is required to try to definitively link breakfast habits with body weight.

The results of the Project EAT study were published in the March issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2008 (AFP)


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