Is lack of breakfast contributing to nutrient deficits and poor nutritional indicators among adolescent girls?Nutr Health. 2017 Sep; 23(3):177-184.NH
Breakfast is considered the first and most important meal of the day. Missing the first meal may result in significant nutritional deficits, if not compensated in subsequent meals.
To describe the nutrient intake through breakfast and to study its association with nutritional indicators among adolescent girls.
A cross-sectional study among adolescent girls (n = 565) 16-18 years was carried out in urban slums of Pune, Maharashtra, India. Haemoglobin was assessed by cyanmethemoglobin method. Nutritional status was assessed through anthropometry and three 24-hours diet recall. Z scores, independent sample test, and linear logistic regression were used to assess undernutrition, to compare means of nutrient intake and to associate nutrient intake with nutritional status, respectively.
Almost 50% did not consume solid food for breakfast and 99% of the participants consumed inadequate breakfast (<610 kcal). Two types of breakfast emerged: I (bakery products + beverage) and II (traditional breakfast + beverage). Although the mean energy intake of type II breakfast (235±100.55 kcal) and the mean micronutrient intake was significantly higher than type I (micronutrients: vitamin C and folate (p = 0.001), iron (p = 0.01)) it did not meet the adequacy norms for breakfast. Among nutritional indicators breakfast intake was not directly associated with body mass index. However, mean intake of nutrients such as energy, protein and iron through the day were significantly lesser (p = 0.001, p = 0.01 and p = 0.01 respectively) among anaemic adolescents. Linear regression showed significant association between energy, fat intake and BAZ scores.
Compensating dietary deficits that arise in the first meal would directly address the day's nutrient deficit. The results highlight the need for a food-based approach to address undernutrition among adolescent girls in resource-poor settings.