By the numbers - Breakfast

10th May 2013 at 01:00

A major study by children's charity Unicef recently ranked the best countries for children to grow up in, with the Netherlands coming out on top.

One factor contributing to the country's top ranking is the high proportion of its children who eat breakfast every day, standing at more than 85 per cent.

More than half of children eat breakfast every day in 27 of the 29 countries surveyed by Unicef. But in Romania and Slovenia, just 45.3 per cent and 43.6 per cent respectively reported that they ate before school.

Skipping breakfast is linked with poverty: according to the World Health Organisation, children in more affluent families are more likely to eat breakfast.

The WHO has also found that skipping breakfast is linked to being overweight and less physically active, whereas regular breakfast consumption is associated with a better diet that includes fruit and vegetables.

Eating breakfast is also advocated as a way of improving academic performance, with many schools introducing breakfast clubs to ensure that children start the day with a nutritious meal.

Average Percentage of children aged 11, 13 and 15 eating breakfast every day

Netherlands 85.1%

Ireland 71.5%

Finland 67.5%

Spain 65.3%

Canada 61.2%

United Kingdom 61.1%

Poland 59.9%

Hungary 51.1%

United States 50.6%

Slovenia 43.6%

Source: Child Well-being in Rich Countries: A Comparative Overview, Unicef.

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