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Breakfast in America is in Need of a Makeover

Thursday, August 5, 2010 General News J E 4
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Morning Meals are Increasingly Missing Milk, Yet Research Continues to Document the Value of a Well-Balanced Breakfast

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The modern-day morning looks dramatically different than a decade ago.  More kids than ever are either grabbing a toaster pastry or fast food sandwich, or skipping breakfast entirely.  Sodas are increasingly the drink of choice at breakfast and less than 20 percent of breakfast meals eaten at home include milk.(1)  That's why the national Milk Mustache "got milk?"® Campaign is launching a new initiative to throw the spotlight on breakfast – and to reinforce the importance of adding lowfat or fat free milk to the morning meal.

At a time when families are beginning to settle into new back-to-school routines, the initiative will educate moms on the considerable contributions of a well-balanced breakfast – along with the downfalls of inadequate nourishment in the a.m.  Visit WhyMilk.com for a back-to-school checklist and breakfast IQ test.

Children and teenagers are increasingly leaving the house in the morning without eating, and this growing trend of breakfast skipping could have public health consequences, suggests a new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.(2) The "most important meal of the day" is often a non-meal:  20 percent of children and 32 percent of adolescents were found to be breakfast skippers.

"If your kids don't make the most of this opportunity in the morning, then they'll likely not make up for it later in the day," said registered dietitian and blogger Liz Weiss, who is one of The Meal Makeover Moms, along with Janice Newell-Bissex. "One of the best ways to be sure you've got all their bases covered is to pour a bowl of cereal with low fat milk. It's not only easy, quick and affordable, but it's one of the most nutrient-rich choices you can make. If kids don't have milk in the morning, it's unlikely they'll get the three servings they need each day."

The new study, which was conducted by researchers at the Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, found that children and teens who consumed ready-to-eat cereal for breakfast were more likely to have better quality diets and healthier weights. The researchers used national data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to explore the relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast on nutrient intakes and weight status of children and adolescents in this country.

The national study demonstrated the nutrient power of a cereal breakfast. Compared to breakfast skippers, children and teens who ate cereal in the morning had higher intakes of almost all vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins along with calcium, potassium and magnesium – three shortfall nutrients that are found in milk.  The cereal eaters also consumed more essential nutrients, and less sodium, compared to those who selected other foods for breakfast.  

"Breakfast should provide about one-third of the day's nutrients, but it serves an additional role that's vitally important for kids," said Weiss. "The nourishment and energy that a good breakfast provides helps to unlock your child's potential as they head back to school. They simply cannot perform as well in the classroom – or the playing field – without a nutritious morning meal."  

Building a Strong Family With Breakfast

The Meal Makeover Moms offer these tips for getting the school year off on the right foot and building a strong family:

  • Think ahead: After dinner, have one child clear the table and help with dishes as you (or another child) prep the table for the morning. Have him set the table with placemats, napkins, bowls, spoons and cereal boxes as part of your dinner wrap-up routine. When the alarm sounds in the morning, add lowfat milk to have a nutritious start to the day!
  • Establish a "Morning Zone": What does each family member need the next morning – and is it gathered up? Putting all critical items into an established "morning zone" can eliminate a lot of headaches during the morning rush. When the "Zone" is clear in the morning, your family is cleared for take-off.
  • "The talk": Use the night before school to have a heart-to-heart as a family about the new start to the year. Talk about goals for the year and all of the exciting lessons the kids will learn. Doing so will help increase excitement about getting back into the swing of things!

Milk and Cereal:  A Winning Combination

To help kick off the back-to-school season, the got milk? campaign encourages moms to start their kids off right every day with a delicious and nutritious breakfast that includes milk and Post Cereals. From July 25 through August 23, moms can test their "breakfast IQ" by taking a quiz at whymilk.com for the chance at great prizes that inspire kids' success. More than 50 daily instant winners will receive back-to-school prizes, including laptops, backpacks, LeapFrog educational tools and more. (Winners will have the option of donating the goods to a school of their choice, if they prefer, through Adopt-A-Classroom.)

About the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"® Campaign

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, through MilkPEP, runs the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"® Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk.  For more information, go to www.whymilk.com. Deutsch, A Lowe and Partners Company, is the creative agency for the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"®Campaign.

(1) The NPD Group's National Eating Trends

(2) Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O'Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:869-878.

SOURCE The Milk Processor Education Program

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