Breakfast and teen weight control

May 5, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
Nutritionists have been saying it for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, a lot of us still aren't listening -- especially teenagers. Now, research shows that first meal is an important tool in fighting weight gain. Eyewitness News reporter Sandra Bookman explains.

Sixteen-year-old Liane Gole says eating a healthy breakfast gives her the energy she needs to get through her busy mornings at school.

"I eat it, I think pretty much every day because I find it's really hard to focus for classes if I just have an empty stomach, especially if I have a test," 16-year-old Liane Gole says.

"Teenagers lead active lifestyles and they need calories, and they do need it first thing in the morning to fuel their bodies for the remainder of the day," says Amy Shetelich/Morristown Memorial Hospital.

Amy Schetelich is a nutritionist at Morristown Memorial Hospital.

She says that first meal can be an important fat buster.

"Eating breakfast can actually decrease the number of calories you eat in your entire day," Shetelich says.

Now, new research shows breakfast can indeed help teens control weight gain.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teens who ate breakfast weighed less than those who didn't. On average, those who ate weighed five pounds less.

"You will be less likely to overeat at other times, or snack on food because you're starving...because you didn't get that breakfast in the morning," Shetelich says.

Kids who eat a nutritious meal in the morning are, overall, more tuned-in to healthy food choices, consuming less fat and more fiber.

They also make better lifestyle choices and are more physically active, which in turn controls weight gain.

Liane is no exception. She plays tennis and is also on her school's gymnastics team.

"I feel like my body is the way it is because I'm so active so I really don't need to worry about my weight," Liane says.