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Children's Health: Breakfast helps keep obesity at bay

The morning meal is also highly recommended as a way to improve school performance

Daily breakfast is a good habit for kids to get into, according to an Italian pediatrician.

“Breakfast consumption is highly recommended in childhood,” says Dr. Marcello Giovannini, professor and chairman of pediatrics at San Paolo Hospital and the University of Milan. He says it improves children’s school performance, enhances the intake of calcium and other nutrients, and helps to prevent weight gain.

“Normal-weight children who never eat breakfast gain weight relative to peers who regularly eat breakfast,” Giovannini says.

The type of breakfast eaten is also important. Foods with a lower “glycemic index” — such as whole grains and milk — release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly than foods with a high glycemic index, such as sugary cereals. This reduces the chances the child will overeat at lunchtime.

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