Children who skip breakfast each day are twice as likely to be obese, a new study has shown.
Whereas it’s the opposite for kids who eat breakfast every day, as they eat less for lunch and tend not to snack between meals, experts say.
To reach the conclusion, the study looked at 15,000 five year olds born in the first two years of the millennium who were weighed and measured.
The study revealed that children who were obese were about twice as likely not to eat breakfast as children of normal weight.
Researchers also found those with unemployed parents were almost three times as likely to go without breakfast as those whose mothers and fathers were both working.
The study found about one in five of the children was either overweight or obese when they started school. More than 17 per cent of girls and 13.5 per cent of boys were overweight and a further 6 per cent of girls and 5 per cent of boys were obese.
"This may be due to the lack of a daily routine of rising early enough to eat breakfast. The consequence of not having breakfast is that children - and adults, of course - are more likely to get hungry before lunch and snack on foods that are high in fat and sugar. That could help to explain the link between obesity and not eating breakfast,” the Telegraph quoted professor Heather Joshi, director of the Millennium Cohort Study, as saying.
"It is also likely, of course, that parents who fail to give their children breakfast may be less organised about nutrition in general,” the expert added.
But Prof Joshi, of the Institute of Education at the University of London, added that economic pressures, such as the inability to afford healthy food, do not appear to be key contributors to weight gain.
She said: "Poor children in our study were no more likely to be overweight and only very slightly more likely to be obese."
Eating regular meals, other than breakfast, also appeared to have no influence on whether a child would be overweight or obese.