To evaluate the impact of breakfast consumption patterns on the nutritional adequacy of diets of young adults and determine possible ethnic and gender differences.
Cross-sectional survey of young adults in Bogalusa, La.
Twenty-four-hour dietary recalls were collected from October 1988 through October 1991 on 504 young adults (mean age=23 years, 58% women, 70% white).
Analysis of variance and logistic regression techniques were used to investigate the relationship of breakfast consumption, ethnicity, and gender on dietary adequacy. The P values are from an analysis of variance model that adjusted for gender and ethnicity.
Thirty-seven percent of young adults skipped breakfast. Of those who ate breakfast, 75% ate at home, 10% ate a fast-food breakfast, and 15% reported other sources. Mean energy intake from breakfast was 485 kcal; men consumed more energy than women (P<.001), and blacks consumed more energy than whites (P<.01). The breakfast meal provided an average of 13% of energy from protein, 55% from carbohydrate, 14% from sucrose, 34% from fat, and 12% from saturated fat. Whites consumed a breakfast higher in carbohydrate and sucrose than blacks, who consumed a breakfast higher in fat and saturated fat. Variations in breakfast foods consumed explained the racial differences in the nutrient composition of the breakfast meal. Young adults who skipped breakfast had lower total daily intakes of energy (P<.0001), protein per 1,000 kcal (P<.05), and saturated fat per 1,000 kcal (P<.01) than those who consumed breakfast. For all vitamins and minerals studied, a higher percentage of young adults who skipped breakfast did not meet two thirds of the Recommended Dietary Allowance than those who consumed a breakfast.
Encouraging consumption of breakfast, along with selection of more healthful breakfast food choices or snacks that are culturally appropriate, may be important strategies for improving the nutritional quality of young adults' diets.