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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today