PART 3: CHILDREN'S OUTCOMES - SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL

Nutritional Habits

Part of having a healthy diet is having a regular breakfast. 54 Skipping breakfast has been linked to inadequate dietary intake, which, in turn, prevents children from taking full advantage of the learning opportunities provided in schools. 55 56

Measure

The percentage of children aged 9-17 who report eating breakfast on 5 or more days per week.

Key findings

  • In 2006, 76% of children aged 9-17 reported eating breakfast on 5 or more days per week (see Table 87).

Table 87: Percentage of children who report to eat breakfast 5 or more days per week,
by gender, age and social class (2002 and 2006)

    2002     2006  
  Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
Total 81.4 74.3 77.3 79.1 72.9 76.0
Age            
9 years - - - 85.6 88.3 87.0
10-11 years 87.3 87.4 87.4 83.4 83.0 83.2
12-14 years 82.4 76.1 78.9 81.8 75.2 78.6
15-17 years 77.5 66.4 70.9 75.2 66.3 71.0
Social class            
SC 1-2 84.6 79.9 81.5 83.2 78.4 80.9
SC 3-4 79.8 71.8 75.3 79.7 71.1 75.7
SC 5-6 82.8 73.5 77.7 77.6 71.7 74.5

Source: HBSC Survey

Differences by gender, age and social class

  • The percentage of children eating breakfast on 5 days or more per week is higher among boys, younger children and those in the higher social class (see Table 87):
    • 79.1% of boys, compared to 72.9% of girls;
    • 87% of children aged 9, compared to 71% of children aged 15-17;
    • 80.9% of children in SC 1-2, compared to 75.7% of those in SC 3-4 and 74.5% in SC 5-6.

Differences by geographic area

Children in the West region are more likely (78.8%) to report eating breakfast on 5 or more days per week, while children in the Midlands region are least likely (70.1%) to report this (see Table 88).

Table 88: Percentage of children who report to eat breakfast 5 or more days per week, by NUTS Region (2006)

  2006
Border 77.7
Midlands 70.1
West 78.8
Dublin 73.5
Mid-East 74.6
Mid-West 77.5
South-East 76.0
South-West 77.2
Overall 76.0

Source: HBSC Survey

International comparisons

  • From the 2006 HBSC Survey, using the ages of 11, 13 and 15 only to draw international comparisons, 78.2% of Irish children reported eating breakfast on 5 or more days per week (see Figure 31). This is above the HBSC average of 72.2%.
  • Among all 39 countries and regions that used this HBSC item, the lowest percentage for this indicator was found among Greek children (51.5%) and the highest among children from Portugal (87.8%). Overall, Irish children ranked 10th.
  • Among the 32 countries and regions that used this HBSC item in 2002, Irish children ranked 14th (80.1%).

Figure 31: Percentage of children who report to eat breakfast on 5 or more days per week, by country (2006)

Technical notes
All data presented are drawn from self-report, self-completion questionnaires completed by children in schools. Thus, they are subject to potential biases in relation to self-presentation and memory. These measures may suffer from social desirability bias.

Percentage differences are presented for descriptive purposes only and may not reflect a statistically significant finding.

Social class (SC) is classified into one of the following groups (introduced in 1996 by the CSO), defined on the basis of occupation:
SC I: Professional
SC 2: Managerial
SC 3: Non-manual
SC 4: Skilled manual
SC 5: Semi-skilled
SC 6: Unskilled

NUTS is an acronym for the EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. This classification was legally established by EU Regulation No. 1059/2003 on 29 May 2003. In Ireland, NUTS is classified hierarchically as Level 1 – Ireland; Level 2 – Regions; and Level 3 – Regional Authorities. The 8 Regional Authorities in Ireland (NUTS 3 regions) were established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (see Appendix 2).

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Next

54 OMCYA (2006) Keski-Rahkonen, A., Viken, R.J., Kaprio, J., Rissanen, A. and Rose, R.J. (2004) 'Genetic and environmental factors in breakfast eating patterns', Behaviour Genetics, Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 503-14.

55 Sampson, A.E., Dixit, S., Meyers, A.F. and Houser R. Jr. (1995) 'The nutritional impact of breakfast consumption on the diets of inner-city African-American elementary school children', Journal of the National Medical Association, Vol. 87, No. 3, pp. 195-202.

56 Nicklas, T.A., Bao, W., Webber, L.S. and Berenson, G.S. (1993) 'Breakfast consumption affects adequacy of total daily intake in children', Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 93, No. 8, pp. 886-91.