Mums and kids miss out on breakfast

Posted 21.01.2013 in Kids, Breakfast Week, Mums

Mums and kids miss out on breakfast

Hundreds of thousands of school children* across the country are missing out on breakfast as a quarter (24%) of parents admit to not ensuring their children eat a morning meal. Mums are also neglecting their own health with 42 per cent of them skipping breakfast once a week or more and one in ten admitting to never eating breakfast.

New research** launched for the start of Farmhouse Breakfast Week shows that mums get up at 6.29am on average; that’s half an hour before the rest of the nation. Yet despite having an earlier start, mums who skip breakfast report that getting family members ready (30%) and doing housework (13%) take priority.

Of those mums that are giving their children breakfast, a worrying eight per cent are giving children a biscuit, three per cent a bag of crisps and three per cent are giving their children cake for their morning meal. Six per cent send their children to school with money to get breakfast on the way.

Nearly 60 per cent of people, including mums, are unaware of the health and wellbeing benefits that breakfast can offer. This is despite those who skip breakfast admitting to feeling hungry mid morning (32%), tired and low in energy (32%) and finding it hard to concentrate (15%). One in ten feel more stressed (11%) and14 per cent report they end up snacking more if they miss breakfast.

Dietician Nigel Denby who specialises in family nutrition said: “Mornings are hectic for everyone but it is worrying that so many children and parents are missing out on this important meal. Eating breakfast improves concentration, mood and energy levels and many breakfast foods provide important nutrients which you may not get elsewhere. For children in particular, missing breakfast can affect performance and behaviour at school.

Children learn a lot of their eating habits from their parents so if they see mum or dad having breakfast, it can help promote healthy eating habits later in life. Foods like biscuits, cake and crisps are fine to have as an occasional treat, but they provide what we call ‘empty calories’. That’s fast acting calories or energy with very little nutritional benefit like vitamins, minerals or fibre. They just can’t give your body what it needs to get the day off to the right start.”

The research also suggests that modern lifestyles could mean that family meal times become a thing of the past. One in ten mums admit they don’t eat meals at traditional times with eight per cent finding it difficult to even sit down for meals – opting to eat on the move instead. 15 per cent of mums say they have less time to eat at meal times than in the past and the same number report they spend less time cooking.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an industry wide campaign in its 14th year which champions the importance of breakfast. It is organised on behalf of farmers and producers. Every year hundreds of breakfast events take place around the country, including school breakfast clubs and workshops. for more information.

For further information about Farmhouse Breakfast Week (20-26 January 2013):

* Estimation based on Office of National Statistics 2012 family figures. There are 4.5 million families with dependent children in the UK:

** One Poll on behalf of HGCA (research carried out online between 6-10 July 2012) amongst 2,000 respondents, including 500 mums with children aged 11 and under