2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: When we eat our last meal around 7-8 pm and then eat the first meal the next day we are breaking a fast. This means we have gone about 12 hours or so without food, breakfast breaks this fast. Students who do not eat breakfast in the morning end up feeling sicker than students who do eat breakfast with common symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, feeling faint etc. Nearly four in 10 college student disregard the most important meal of the day and usually skip breakfast entirely.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to determine the association between consuming breakfast on a daily basis and achieving academic success in college students.
Methods: A survey was distributed at the University of Kentucky to 200 students ranging in age from 18-34 years of age. The survey consisted of questions pertaining to age, sex, weight, GPA, frequency of breakfast consumption and if they felt that their grades were a reflection of whether or not they consume breakfast on a daily basis.
Results: It was found that there was a correlation between students GPA and if they consumed breakfast on a daily basis. Breakfast eaters had a higher GPA of 3.42 compared to breakfast skippers, whose average GPA was a 3.14 (P=0.000754) evaluated. The relationship between GPA and body mass index (BMI) was also looked at. Body weight of the students had no relationship with academic performance. Those students who ate on average 2 times/day has a GPA of 3.1 ± 0.3 as compared to those that ate 4 or more times a day there the average GPA was 3.1 ± 0.3 and 3.5 ± 0.3 (p-value=0.00004). It was also determined that the students ate for breakfast the higher the GPA. Grade point average and physical activity was also taken into account. Those students who exercised less had an average GPA of 3.2 ± 0.3 as compared to those who worked out 5-6 days a week who more had an average GPA of 3.4 ± 0.3 (P-value=0.0208).
Conclusions: Consuming breakfast on a daily basis was shown to be a significant factor in increasing GPA. Eating breakfast daily has not only been shown to increase academic success but also a variety of other factors such as promoting a well balanced lifestyle, a healthier weight and improving cognition. This research has important implications because breakfast is the most skipped meal and the most overlooked. Since the majority of students are on the pursuit of high marks in their classes skipping this vital meal may be detrimental.