Breakfast consumption habits among schoolchildren: A cross-sectional study in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Maha Al Turki, Sarah Al Shloi, Alhanouf Al Harbi, Alanoud Al Agil, Winnie Philip and Shoeb Qureshi

International Research Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences
Published: June 5 2018
Volume 6, Issue 2
Pages 50-55


Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption can enhance cognitive and psychosocial function, academic performance, and school attendance of schoolchildren. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that children who frequently skip breakfast have a higher risk of being obese compared to those children that regularly consume breakfast. There is a growing body of literature that recognizes the importance of this meal for school children. However, a limited number of researchers have explored the breakfast habits among Saudi young school children. We assessed breakfast consumption habits, food preferences and student perspectives concerning breakfast consumption among young Saudi female students living in Riyadh city. A cross-sectional study of 384 female primary school students was conducted in 2016. Four schools each from government and private sector, located in different zones of Riyadh were randomly selected for the study. Age, anthropometric measurements, health status of the students, and information regarding breakfast habits and preferred food choices were collected. Mean and standard deviation (SD) was used to present continuous data. Categorical data was presented in frequencies and percentages. To compare the difference in means, independent t-test was also used. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 22) was used for the analysis of data. A p value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Eighty-eight percent of schoolchildren reported that they consume breakfast, with only 2% having regular breakfast more than four days a week. The mean (±SD) age of those who consume breakfast was significantly lower than those who usually skipped breakfast. Milk and dairy products and/or carbohydrates were the preferred breakfast food choice of most schoolchildren. Although, only 12% of the schoolchildren in the sample reported not to consume breakfast, the majority of the rest of the students reported not to be frequent breakfast consumers (

Keywords: Breakfast consumption, breakfast food choices, school, children, Saudi Arabia.

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