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Suzanne Shaw on The 21st Century Breakfast for British School Children

September 4th, 2009 · No Comments

Suzanne Shaw on The 21st Century Breakfast for British School children

British kids are going to school on a junk food breakfast of sweets, snacks and fizzy drinks and parents admit they can’t do anything about it.

British kids are going to school on a junk food breakfast of sweets, snacks and fizzy drinks and parents admit they can’t do anything about it.

According to new research £646 million is being spent each year by sweet-toothed kids buying biscuits, cake and meat snacks on the way to school with around one quarter of 7-14 year olds admitting to regular early morning junk food binges.

While a staggering one in every class of 14 year olds say they go to school on a cigarette, according to the landmark report published by Kellogg’s to coincide with National Breakfast Week.

Other findings include: half a million kids eat biscuits for their morning meal, 160,000 have a bag of crisps and more than 100,000 just have a fizzy drink.

Nutritionists warn this is storing up trouble for the class room, leading to loss of concentration and poor discipline. Public health nutritionist, Kathy Cowbrough, who was involved with the government’s Sure Start Centres, said:

“How often have we all seen young children not wanting to cooperate with harassed parents, or school children unable to stay alert for valuable lessons at school?

“This is because missing a decent breakfast means we can be saying goodbye to up to a quarter of the nutrients and energy we need for the day, making us more tired, irritable and less able to concentrate in the morning.”

Fuelling the bad food binge, 16pc of kids say their parents hand over on average £2.22 each day so they can buy food on the way to school, a figure which jumps to one in four 13-14 year olds.

The study of UK families revealed the extent to which parents know what kids are doing but do nothing about it. A third of children say their parents are aware of what they spend their dosh on and are fine with it.

Of the parents who dole out the breakfast money, a massive two-thirds say it’s inevitable that it will be spent on junk food.

Yet six in ten parents also admit they have serious concerns about their child’s diet, and a third are worried about their son or daughter’s health. The solution is obvious to both kids and parents, with nearly half of children who say that expenditure on ‘bad breakfast foods’ would cease if parents stopped giving them cash (43%) or gave them breakfast at home before leaving for school (42%).

Rachel Fellows from Kellogg’s said,

“Ask any parent and I think they’d agree, a biscuit or packet of crisps are okay snacks when part of a balanced diet but they’re not breakfast.

“This report shows parents are having a tough time but we know parents want to do the right thing but something’s stopping that happening. We all need to help parents find solutions – like open more breakfast clubs in schools – so each child can start the day with a decent meal in them.”

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