Kids skipping lunch lose out on essential nutrients

New York, March 30(IANS):  Skipping lunch is a common practice among children and adolescents, with 13 percent of younger children and 17 percent of 9-13 year olds skipping lunch on a given day, reveals a new survey that evaluated eating patterns of more than 3,500 children in the US.

The findings, part of Nestle’s new Kids Nutrition & Health Study (KNHS), are of particular concern given that lunch-skippers had lower intakes of nutrients, including calcium and fibre, than lunch consumers.

We were concerned to see lunch-skipping happening all week long and even more so on the weekends, with the largest group of skippers being girls 9-13 years of age.

Lunch-skippers are missing out on some key nutrients essential for growth and development, said lead author Kevin Mathias from Nestle Research Centre.

The new analysis of data from the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that evaluated eating patterns of 3,647 children ages 4-13 years was presented recently at a conference of the American Society of Nutrition.

In addition, the data show that for some children, the lunch meal was primarily responsible for the higher essential nutrient intakes of vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, as well as a nutrient of concern, sodium.

This study highlights an opportunity for both government and the food industry to develop new strategies to encourage children and adolescents to consume a healthy lunch, Mathias added.

–Indo-Asian news Service