In many studies it has been shown that breakfast is associated with normal weight in children and adolescents. Other meals, family meals and a regular meal pattern have been less studied. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine whether a regular meal pattern, or breakfast, lunch or dinner as separate regular meals, is associated with the BMI of children.
A cross-sectional study conducted within the Helsinki region during 2006. Study participants were measured and weighed by research staff. Children filled in a study questionnaire on their health behaviour, including the frequency of consuming meals. A regular meal was defined as one usually eaten on every school day. A regular meal pattern was defined as one consisting of a usual consumption of breakfast, school lunch and dinner on every school day. Covariance analysis was used as the statistical analysis method.
Capital region, Finland, 2006.
A total of 604 schoolchildren (312 girls) aged 9-11 years.
Irregular breakfast and an irregular meal pattern were associated with higher BMI. Regularity of school lunch, dinner or family dinner was not associated with BMI.
A regular breakfast and meal pattern was associated with lower BMI in children, although breakfast was the only single meal associated with BMI. We conclude that, although the association between breakfast and weight status in children is fairly consistent, the role of other meals is less convincing.