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Keywords:

  • breakfast cereal;
  • breakfast;
  • digestive problems;
  • well-being;
  • stress;
  • mental health

Abstract

Previous research has shown that regular breakfast cereal consumption is associated with better well-being (subjective reports of health and functioning). Digestive problems are also associated with reduced well-being, and given that consumption of breakfast cereals often improves digestive function, it is possible that the effect of breakfast cereal on well-being reflects better digestion in regular breakfast consumers. The present study examined this issue by conducting secondary analyses of a large community sample (N = 14,952). Breakfast cereal consumption was measured using a five-point frequency scale (from never to everyday), and digestive disorders were measured by self-reports of problems such as constipation, indigestion and diarrhoea over the last year. Well-being measures included reports of general mental health, depression, anxiety and stress. The results showed that well-being scores (lower stress, anxiety, depression and mental health problems in general) were greater in those who consumed breakfast cereal on most days or every day. Digestive problems were also associated with higher stress levels, greater psychopathology in general and higher anxiety and depression scores. The effects of breakfast cereal consumption and digestive problems were independent, and further research is required to identify the mechanisms underlying these effects. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.