Skipping lunch – not just for adults these days

Skipping lunch – not just for adults these days

It’s not uncommon for adults to get consumed by work and forget to take a lunch break, but researchers say children may also be missing out on the recharge their bodies need midday.

According to a recent analysis by Nestle’s Kids Nutrition and Health Study of the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, skipping lunch is a common practice among children and adolescents.

Among the 3,647 children ages 4 to13 evaluated in the study, 17 percent of 9 to 13 year olds and 13 percent of younger children skipped lunch on a given day. Nearly 25 percent of 9 to 13 year olds also skipped lunch on the weekends.

“We were concerned to see lunch skipping happening all week long and even more so on the weekends, with the largest group of skippers being girls 9-13 years of age,” says Kevin Mathias, PhD, lead author of the study, in a press release.

Those who skipped lunch had lower intakes of nutrients, including calcium and fiber, than lunch consumers of the same age, the study shows. Lunch was primarily responsible for higher essential nutrient intake of vitamin D, potassium and magnesium.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most U.S. youth do not meet the minimum recommendations for daily intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and exceed the recommended maximum of sodium intake.

“Nutrition is essential for growth and learning,” says Dr. Andrea Kane, an Advocate Medical Group pediatrician on staff at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “It is also important for emotional stability. I would encourage families to talk about nutrition and its importance for health with their kids.

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  1. Interesting article but it’s missing a key point – WHY are these kids skipping lunch. It it because they economically can’t afford lunch; because they’re “dieting”, etc.

    • Lynn Hutley

      Unfortunately, the study did not delve into the why (or at least was not reported). You might be able to find additional information through the American Society of Nutrition as the study was presented at their conference.

About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.