The association between consumption of breakfast cereals and BMI in schoolchildren aged 12-17 years: the VYRONAS study

Rena I Kosti, Demosthenes B Panagiotakos, Antonis Zampelas, Costas Mihas, Alevizos Alevizos, Clare Leonard, Yannis Tountas, Anargiros Mariolis
Public Health Nutrition 2008, 11 (10): 1015-21

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether consumption of breakfast cereals is associated with BMI in a sample of Greek adolescents.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional health and nutrition survey.

SETTING AND SUBJECTS: During 2004-5, 2008 schoolchildren aged 12-17 years were selected from twelve schools located in Vyronas region (Athens metropolitan area). Height and weight were measured and BMI was calculated. A semiquantitative FFQ was applied and multiple logistic regression analysis was used.

RESULTS: Overall, 4.7% of boys and 1.7% of girls were obese, whereas 19.4% of boys and 13.2% of girls were overweight. Only 20.7% of boys and 15.5% of girls reported that they consume cereals as a first choice for breakfast. Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI in boys (P=0.08) and girls(P=0.019), irrespective of age and physical activity status. More prominent results were observed for daily cereal consumption or for more than two daily servings of cereals consumed for breakfast. Consumption of pre-sweetened breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI compared with non-pre-sweetened or no intake of cereals, in both genders (P<0.001). Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with 33% (95% CI 14%, 48%) lower likelihood of overweight/obesity, irrespective of age, sex and physical activity status.

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of breakfast cereals was associated with lower BMI levels and a lower likelihood of overweight/obesity in both genders; thus a solid basis for public health professionals could be built when issuing advice on weight management.

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