Skipping breakfast among Australian children and adolescents; findings from the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey

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Skipping breakfast has been linked with poor diet quality, higher BMI and adverse cardiometabolic outcomes. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and correlates of skipping breakfast among Australian children and adolescents.


A total of 1,592 2–17-year-olds completed two 24-hour recalls, collected via face-to-face and telephone interview, in the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Breakfast was an eating occasion of ≥210kJ named as ‘breakfast’ by the participant. Child, household and adult correlates of skipping breakfast were reported. Odds ratios were calculated using ordinal regression. Linear regression was used to examine differences in dietary intake. Survey weights were applied to give nationally representative estimates.


Most (86.8% of boys, 81.4% of girls) ate breakfast on both days, 11.8% of boys and 14.8% girls skipped on one day and 1.4% boys and 3.8% girls skipped on both days. Characteristics associated with skipping breakfast were being female, being older, being underweight or overweight/obese, poorer diet, lower physical activity, inadequate sleep, lower household income, greater socioeconomic disadvantage, and being from a single-parent home.


Skipping breakfast was common among Australian adolescents but few consistently skipped.

Implications for public health:

Interventions to increase breakfast should target adolescents, particularly girls, and low SEP households.

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