Breakfast Consumption and Diet Quality of Teens in Southwestern Ontario

Nicolas Woods, Jamie A Seabrook, Jess Haines, Saverio Stranges, Leia Minaker, Colleen O'Connor, Sean Doherty, Jason Gilliland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Breakfast skipping has previously been associated with worse diet quality among adolescents; the latter increases the risk of chronic disease. However, many studies do not consider diet quality as a function of calories, which is problematic as skippers tend to consume less energy than consumers. Additionally, due to the lack of one accepted definition of both breakfast skipping and diet quality, it is unclear how differences found may change when using varying definitions.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to compare the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) scores and nutrient intakes of teen breakfast skippers and consumers in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.

METHODS: Cross-sectional, baseline data were used from SmartAPPetite, an ongoing nutrition intervention study. Singular 24-h dietary recalls and sociodemographic data from 512 adolescents aged 13-19 y were used to compare HEI-2015 scores and nutrient intakes via multivariable linear regression.

RESULTS: Previous day breakfast skippers had significantly lower HEI-2015 scores (-4.4; 95% CI: -8.4, -0.4) and significantly lower intakes of calories, saturated fat, and vitamin C, as well as significantly higher intake of sodium and total fat.

CONCLUSIONS: Previous day breakfast consumers had significantly higher diet quality scores and better nutrient intakes than breakfast skippers, although, on average, both had poor diet quality. Consequently, it is unlikely that simply advising teens to consume breakfast will result in meaningful change in diet quality, and more effort should be placed on promoting nutritious breakfasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100003
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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