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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Irregular breakfast eating and health status among adolescents in Taiwan

Rea-Jeng Yang1, Edward K Wang2, Yeu-Sheng Hsieh3 and Mei-Yen Chen4*

Author Affiliations

1 Nursing Department, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Neurology Department, Tao-Yuan Veteran Hospital, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

3 Department of Agricultural Extension, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Nursing Department, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:295  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-295

Published: 7 December 2006

Abstract

Background

Regular breakfast eating (RBE) is an important contributor to a healthy lifestyle and health status. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the relationships among irregular breakfast eating (IRBE), health status, and health promoting behavior (HPB) for Taiwanese adolescents.

Methods

A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used to investigate a cluster sample of 1609 (7th -12th grade) adolescents located in the metropolitan Tao-Yuan area during the 2005 academic year. The main variables comprised breakfast eating pattern, body weight, and health promoting behaviors. Data were collected by a self-administered questionnaire.

Results

A total of 1609 participants were studied, 64.1% in junior high school and 35.9% in high school, boys (47.1%) and girls (52.9%) ranging in age from 12–20 years. Of the total participant population, 28.8% were overweight and nearly one quarter (23.6%) reported eating breakfast irregularly during schooldays. The findings indicated that adolescents with RBE had a lower risk of overweight (OR for IRBE vs. RBE = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.12, 2.04), and that the odds of becoming overweight were 51% greater for IRBE than for RBE even after controlling for demographical and HPB variables. IRBE also was a strong indicator for HPB. However, the profile of the high-risk IRBE group was predominantly junior high schoolchildren and/or children living without both parents.

Conclusion

This study provides valuable information about irregular breakfast eating among adolescents, which is associated with being overweight and with a low frequency of health promoting behavior. School and family health promotion strategies should be used to encourage all adolescents to eat breakfast regularly.