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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2013

Diwa Pandey, Mohammed H. Buzgeia, Epuru Suneetha, Hana Ahmed, Honida Abd El Rahaman Al Gani, Hajir Abd El Rahman Al Kadam and Nawal Juma Elariby

Breakfast skipping by children, with its varying global prevalence and associated factors, is well documented to adversely affect their health, cognitive ability, academic…

Abstract

Purpose

Breakfast skipping by children, with its varying global prevalence and associated factors, is well documented to adversely affect their health, cognitive ability, academic performance and anthropometric status. Libya, a country with a young population base, has limited information on breakfast skipping prevalence among its young citizens as well as its compounding factors unique to the country. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the breakfast skipping pattern among Benghazi primary school children.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper's approach is to use a cross sectional study among 386 primary school children (196 males and 190 females) using an interviewer‐administered structured questionnaire. The enrolment exclusion criteria were a pre‐existing chronic disease or a food allergy or food intolerance or any acute illness.

Findings

Breakfast skipping during weekdays (38.6 per cent, n=149), reduced drastically on weekends (1.0 per cent, n=4); 10.7 per cent subjects skipped breakfast daily (mean 2.5 + 1.3 days). Absence of hunger and lack of time to eat or prepare breakfast were cited as main barriers in its regular consumption. Bread and milk were the most commonly consumed breakfast foods. Certain groups of regular breakfast eating subjects consumed higher (p < 0.05) dietary thiamine and iron than their breakfast skipping counterparts and also better fulfilled their daily requirements for these nutrients. Parental breakfast eating habits influenced their children's breakfast eating pattern.

Practical implications

Efforts, including better time management, are required to inculcate a positive breakfast eating attitude among Benghazi primary school children. Their parents need to act as better role models by adopting healthy breakfast eating practices themselves.

Originality/value

The paper shows that breakfast skipping among Benghazi primary school children is a nutritional problem of grave concern, warranting a public health intervention.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 115 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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