The decline of breakfast

Fifteen percent of Australian children head off to school without having had any breakfast and the figure is rising. Among secondary school students it’s closer to 20 percent. What are the implications and what should nutritionists do?

The CensusAtSchool survey

CensusAtSchool is an annual nationwide survey of students’ everyday lives, experiences, opinions and interests conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Participation is voluntary so the data produced are not necessarily representative of the whole school population, just those who completed questionnaires. Nevertheless, the findings provide insight into the trends, habits, attitudes and lifestyles of Australian students.

According to the latest survey of nearly 24,000 children, about 15 percent do not consume breakfast and the figure has been rising in recent years. There is considerable variation in breakfast skipping across Australia, from 12 percent of Victorian school children to over 22 percent in the Northern Territory.

Earlier reports from the same survey have highlighted how breakfast consumption declines as children get older. Typically about 7-8 percent of primary school children skip breakfast but the figure rises to about 20 percent for children at secondary school.

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