MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY

Lack of proper breakfast affects school perfomance — experts

Nutritionist says skipping breakfast limits the nutrients a child needs to grow physically and intellectually

In Summary

• Children need breakfast more as they sleep more than adults, extending the night 'fast'. 

• Children who skip the meal are likely to be sluggish, less attentive and have less energy to carry out their morning tasks. 

Students and teachers of Kabete Vet Lab Primary School with the Blueband team during the Good Breakfast Campaign on June 11
REFUELLING: Students and teachers of Kabete Vet Lab Primary School with the Blueband team during the Good Breakfast Campaign on June 11
Image: NJERI MBUGUA

Lack of a proper breakfast undermines children's school performance.

Upfield Food's head of nutrition Phyllis Obote said breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight 'fast'.

She spoke during the launch of Blueband Margarine's Good Breakfast Campaign.

Children typically sleep longer than adults and therefore 'fast' more. Unlike adults, children are not able to tell themselves that they can hold off eating. therefore, lack of proper meals affects their behaviour because they lack energy.

 They have growing bodies and developing brains, which require regular refuelling, often from food, where they get vitamins and other nutrients.

"If you don't have the energy to jumpstart your day, you are not able to coordinate and concentrate. If you are unable to concentrate when teachers are teaching, it will be quite difficult to follow up on school work," Obote told the Star. 

Breakfast helps improve mental performance and concentration during morning activities, she said. 

Children who skip the meal are likely to be sluggish, less attentive and have less energy to carry out their morning tasks.

Obote advised parents to make the best out of their meal plans, saying there was no standard breakfast for children. 

She said," If you are able to afford some porridge, bread with some Blueband, then you have provided them with the 25 per cent energy they require for the day."

Clinical dietician Christine Mati said all children need is a balanced, light diet in the morning but it was important they do not miss any meal during the day. 

"A balanced meal should contain protein, starch, a vegetable or fruit. For example, sausage or egg, a piece of bread, cake or sandwich and a banana," she said.

 The Good Breakfast programme, initiated three years ago, has reached more than  three million children in more than 1,000 schools in Kenya.

"The challenge is how to scale up and reach every child in Kenya. With the launch today we aim to reh about six million children," Obote said. 

(Edited by R.Wamochie)