Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

An examination of the demographic predictors of adolescent breakfast consumption, content, and context

Barbara Mullan12, Cara Wong1, Emily Kothe3*, Kathleen O’Moore1, Kristen Pickles1 and Kirby Sainsbury12

Author Affiliations

1 School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2 School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia

3 School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, 3125, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:264  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-264

Published: 20 March 2014



Breakfast consumption is important to health; however, adolescents often skip breakfast, and an increased understanding of the breakfast consumption patterns of adolescents is needed. The purpose of this study was to identify the predictors of breakfast eating, including the content and context, in an adolescent sample from Australia and England.


Four-hundred and eighty-one students completed an online questionnaire measuring breakfast skipping, and breakfast content (what was eaten) and context (who they ate with, involvement in preparation). Logistic regression was conducted to investigate the predictors of skipping breakfast, breakfast context, and consumption of the ten most commonly consumed foods. Chi-square analyses were used to examine differences in breakfast content according to context.


Most students (88%) had consumed breakfast on the day of the survey; breakfast skipping was more common in England (18%) than in Australia (8%). Country, gender, socioeconomic status, and body mass index (BMI) were all predictors of breakfast content and context. Whether adolescents ate with others and/or were involved in breakfast preparation predicted the content of breakfast consumed.


This study provides a comprehensive examination of the factors underlying breakfast consumption (content and context) and has important implications for the development of evidence-based interventions to improve rates of breakfast consumption and the quality of food consumed amongst adolescents.

Breakfast; Australia; England; Diet; Nutrition