BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
British pupils 'skip breakfast'
Breakfast is important for maintaining pupils' energy levels
Fewer British children eat breakfast before school than in most developed countries, an international study suggests.

The World Health Organisation found the proportion of 11 year old boys doing so across 35 countries was 72.9%, while the figure was 69.1% for girls.

In Britain, those least likely to eat breakfast were in Wales, where 60.2% of girls and 65.8% of boys did so.

For England, the number was 60.1% for girls and 66.1% for boys.


The best figures were for Scotland, where 65.3% of girls ate breakfast, as did 74.5% of boys - actually above the average.

The Netherlands had the highest rate, but the three British countries also fell behind Lithuania, Russia and Latvia, which have a far lower per capita income.

Children in Wales, England and Scotland continued to fare worse than most other developed countries at ages 13 and 15, the WHO study found.

Research has found that eating breakfast has an effect on children's energy levels and ability to study.

The WHO findings come amid concern over a deterioration in the quality of diet and a rise in obesity, often said to be caused by snacking on unsuitable food.

The US, which has a higher rate of obesity than the UK, was among the bottom two to five countries for eating breakfast at each age stage.

The WHO study - Young People's Health in Context - looked at the lifestyles of more than 162,000 pupils.

It found children in Britain were bullied about as often as the average for the 35 countries looked at.

The number of those reporting themselves as victims during the previous couple of months fell markedly from ages 11 to 13 to 15.

However, the proportion of pupils who did three hours or more of homework at weekends varied widely.

At age 11, for example, 18.9% of girls and 18.3% of boys in Wales did so. In England it was 12.8% and 10.6%.

But in Scotland the figures were 2.4% for girls and 2.6% for boys.

Their relative positions - in comparison to one another - stayed the same at ages 13 and 15.

No figures were given by the WHO for children in Northern Ireland.

Schools urged to fight obesity
27 May 04  |  Education
Concern over 'junk food' for pupils
05 Mar 04  |  Education
Pupils promised free school meals
13 Feb 04  |  Education

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific