Breakfast Skipping in School Children: A Case Study of Schools in Municipality and Non-municipality Area of Muang, Pattani Province
Keywords:Breakfast skipping, school children, Pattani province
Breakfast is an important meal for school children as it provides energy and nutrients for bodily functions after the overnight fasting. Breakfast skipping is a nutrition-related problem in many countries, including Thailand. This study aimed to assess breakfast skipping practice, nutritional knowledge and attitudes towards eating breakfast, family and individual factors, nutritional status, school performance in relation to breakfast skipping among school-aged children in Muang district of Pattani province. The study was a cross-sectional study. Two hundred and nighty eight students in grades 3-6 from one school in the municipality area and two schools in the non-municipality area were included. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect child and family characteristics, nutritional knowledge and attitude towards breakfast. Weight and height were measured and nutritional status was determined using Thai growth reference (INMU-ThaiGrowth program). School grades during the last three years were also collected. The results showed that the proportion of students who skipped breakfast (defined as skipping at least one day in 5 school days) were 37.3% and 39.3% for the municipality and non-municipality schools, respectively, with no statistical difference (p > 0.05). Students who skipped breakfast had significantly lower nutrition knowledge (6.4+2.3) than those who did not skipped breakfast (7.1+2.5) (p = 0.014). In addition, attitude scores towards breakfast of the breakfast skippers (10.2+2.9) were significantly lower than those who were non-skippers (12.1+2.9) (p < 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences between breakfast skippers and non-skippers in other factors, including family income, occupation, parental education, family size, sex, age, perception of body image, nutritional status, and school performance. Of note, double burden of malnutrition was observed among school-aged children in this study: 13.8% stunting, 7.8% wasting, and 13.8% overweight/obese. In conclusion, about one third of students in the studied schools skipped breakfast. Breakfast skippers had lower nutrition knowledge and poorer attitude towards eating breakfast. Promoting nutrition knowledge, with emphasis on the importance of breakfast and overall nutritional importance among school-aged children and family should be considered. In addition, nutritional surveillance and other nutrition promotion measures are needed to improve nutritional status of school-aged children.
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